I am told that many years ago, Ruth Bell (Billy Graham’s wife) chanced upon a sign by the end of a road with the inscription “End of Construction—Thank you for your patience.” Smiling, she remarked that she wanted those words on her gravestone. Her wish was granted after her passing on June 2007. It seems like a funny statement alright but it’s one that is laden with life’s lessons. If you have ever walked past a building under construction, you will notice a lot of chaos. Preceding that chaos were many meetings, lobbying for contracts, proposals, paperwork and permit requirements, just to name a few. At the beginning stages of the actual construction process, there is confusion, lots of movement, trucks moving in and out of the building carrying and offloading all sorts and loud noises. Everything looks out of shape and out of order to the passerby yet beneath it all, the workers and architect have a specific goal in mind. They already have a clear view of what that building ought to look like and are working towards that vision. We see workers in hazmat’s and special goggles for protection, and there is typically lots of dust. Sometimes, a huge section that extends beyond the actual site is warded off to ensure public safety. During this crucial time, only authorized workers are permitted to visit or stay on site.
As the work unfolds, different inspectors arrive to view and comment on whether the building is ready for the next phase of development. The plumbers, electricians, roofers, painters and fixture experts come through at different stages to render a hand in transforming what used to be bare land into something beautiful and useful. The construction phase, although unpleasant, time consuming and unsightly is a necessary step towards refinement and glamour. You will notice that the size of the project determines the length of time and resources needed for completion. For instance, it takes a longer period and more resources to build a high rise 5-star hotel than to construct a 3-bedroom house. There is however one thing they both have in common – time and process.
How does the construction of a building apply to our daily lives? Well, it is said that different people come into our lives at different times for different reasons. I didn’t use to believe that but now I know better. Some people truly come to test you, others help train you. Sometimes, we are to help “construct” others and other times, they “construct” us. For what fun will it be to go through life without ever being tested? How then would we learn valuable lessons if we never make some mistakes of your own, have cause to pause, reflect and improve upon our lives? Whatever the case might be, we ought to remember that we are all working through many imperfections in our lives, so when we encounter someone who needs construction, let’s be patient with them. It will amaze us what the finished product will look like with our help. And if you are unable to help, try not to break their spirits. Ruth understood this so well; she knew that we are all works in progress, and our job is never fully completed until our time on earth is done. So be humble, be patient and seize every opportunity that comes your way to construct or be constructed. To all who believe in the finished work of Christ, may your heart and mind be continually set on those things that will live beyond the grave.