Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it; unless the Lord guards the city, the watchman keeps awake in vain. (Psalm 127:1)
The passage above speaks to a great life truth; whatever you have in this world, whatever you gain, whatever successes you may have, no matter the size of your home or the wealth you may accumulate, it all means nothing without the Lord in your life. The reasons are simple, it won’t bring real satisfaction, and it’s all temporary.
This past Monday, a group from Cross Culture Church went to Tarboro to partner with the relief ministry, Samaritan’s Purse, to build new homes for some who were flooded out by Hurricane Matthew last year. These are predominantly the elderly and financially struggling families. They aren’t large homes. They aren’t fancy. But, they are warm and dry, and the families that move into them can call them their own. They are very appreciative.
We had a great time! It really is a wonderful blessing to get to minister to others. The folks at Samaritan’s Purse are great, providing resources and direction for what needs to be done. They just need folks willing to give of their time and energy. I hope that many more of us will be willing to go the next time we put one of these one-day mission trips on the calendar. Teams can even take their camping equipment and campout for a week on church property where Samaritan’s Purse is staging their work in Tarboro. It can be like a vacation and mission trip all rolled into one! (Bill Powell is our contact person for Samaritan’s Purse ministry opportunities)
Meeting physical needs is a biblical concept. It is a tangible and practical way to show God’s love to people. I’m glad we do things like this. But, we must never lose sight of the fact that physical needs pale in comparison to spiritual needs. The Master Carpenter, Jesus, said this:
Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going. Thomas said to Him, ‘Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?’ Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.’ (John 14:1-6)
When we invest time, resources, and energy into meeting physical needs it is intended to provide an opportunity to share with others how their ultimate need can be met in Jesus Christ. A hungry person will be hungry again. Hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters will happen again. The people of God should always be ready to stand in the gap and meet needs. But, only Jesus can meet the need of forgiveness of sins and bring eternal life. Jesus is the only Carpenter that builds a house that lasts forever.
Dr. J. Clay Stevens is Lead Pastor of Cross Culture Church in Raleigh, NC. He is author of the book I Get It! Discovering How To Really live In The Promises Of God. His life mission statement is: "To take people from where they are to where God wants them to be."