Together We Build
As a 16 year old sophomore in high school I found myself in Mexico during spring break. I went to Mexico with my church’s youth group to build five houses with Amor Ministries. It was a week of sweat, tears, and joy to build a house for a very deserving family.
Along with 100 other students, Mexico was my first mission trip and it opened my eyes to the heart of the Father and the power of His body.
I remember the excitement and anticipation we all felt as we drove into the small village of houses that first morning in Tijuana. Together, as a team of 12 students and two adult leaders we were going to build a whole house in one week!
Upon arrival to the worksite, “Team Green” was informed that we would be challenged with doing more than all the other teams there: we would be building a “double house.” Our house would be twice the size of the other houses, we would be working with two times the materials and double the size of everything. With a resounding “YES!” from all of us, we naively began to work with the ambitious attitude and vigor of teenagers.
We loved the idea of the challenge: Team Green was ready!
The days were long and hot and the work was hard. Like all the other teams from our church, we laid the foundation, sorted wood for the walls and roof, used hand saws, and pounded nail after nail. It took all of us. It was a group effort and it was really fun, we knew we were serving the Lord and shining for Christ to the people of the town.
In the beginning, our team had a bit of pride – a “we can do it” attitude about building the double house. We felt that our team, like our house, was bigger and better than the rest.
But as the week went on, even though we put in longer hours than the other teams, we began to see we might not finish. This realization was hard for all of us to face, so we kept grinding it out, working, singing, and praying that the impossible would be achieved.
On the last day of work most teams were done with their final step of stucco by noon. Team Green was still working on the tar paper and chicken wire through the afternoon. As the sun began to set we were just starting to mix the stucco. The cold air of the evening came as we began to slap the wet cold stucco on the walls.
We were worn out and tired.
We were each individually saddened by the knowledge that it was pretty likely we would have to call it a night before we finished this house we had labored on all week. We knew if we stopped working, we would be leaving the next morning and not be able to see our house finished.
Just as dusk came, we heard the roar of the church vans arrive. Team Yellow, Team Red, Team Orange, and Team Blue emerged with their tool belts and trowels. United, now as a team of 100, we raced against the coming night to stucco the home.
Slowly, it became harder and harder to see; but, as darkness almost overtook us, bright light arrived…one by one, neighbors of the town arrived to circle our house with their headlights.
A common goal had ignited the community.
As a group, by the light of the pickup trucks, we completed that house together.
As I look back on my first mission trip more than 20 years ago, I see the Lord’s heartbeat: we were created to build together. We can do more together than any of us can do on our own; this is God’s design for His people.
In the beginning, God built and created in community.
We witness the unity of the Father, Son and Spirit as creation begins and see this unity mandate throughout scripture. Yet, in our “we can do it”, “get ‘er done” American mindset we often think we must achieve for ourselves or build and carry out our own thing to completion.
We feel like a failure when we don’t finish on our own or complete what we have started. It is often out of our comfort zone to ask for help or engage with others around us. This mindset not only leads to a worn-out and weary worker, it often isolates and silos us as believers. This perspective can lead to division and dysfunction.
As always, God’s Word leaves a directive to the Body of Christ that should provide hope and a solution to many believers who are “grinding it out out in the name of Jesus.”
Together we build.
The Apostle Paul spoke to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians; the church had become divided and was full of disorder. Paul beseeched the body to become united again and reminded them how God builds. He reminds the body of Christ that as a united community of co-workers in God’s service we carry out the will of God.
It is all about the sum of our parts:
“What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 3:5-11
Together We Build.
We are all servants of a mighty God.
Together we are on mission and assigned our own individual tasks to be used in unison with others. My early experience in building taught me a valuable lesson about how God builds; Team Green was one just part of His mighty team –there is Power in We.
Through our work as co-laborers, God grows and gives life to His will, and He ultimately builds. Just as God built humanity in community of the trinity, we, His Church, create and build together for His Glory. We build together on the foundation of Jesus Christ and carry out more than any one of us could do alone.
We are one team and through Him the impossible will be achieved. We Build Together.
Julie, Co-Founder of Joy of It, is a wife, mom and recovering control freak who is fueled by coffee and energized by music. Julie’s heartbeat is to help others foster authentic, genuine relationships. Out of this passion for real friendships, she co-founded Friendzy, a friendship curriculum for 3rd-5th grade girls. When we learn friendship, we learn it for life.