Advent Devotion: December 17
Brick By Brick
Read James 4:10
We were a team of 25 men and women. We were welders, brick masons, carpenters, mechanics, contractors, and industrial engineers. We had years of experience in construction, industry, and home repairs. We were going on a mission to Haiti to build a church.
It took a lot longer than we expected to go the 25 miles to the job site from Port au Prince. The roads were terrible and everything along the road was in a state of disrepair. At the job site we were disappointed at the work that the previous missions had done. Without a level you could tell that the walls were not straight and the building was not square. The tool shed had no power tools, no electricity, and a very few rusted hand tools.
But we were can-do Americans. After determining the materials we would need to build the second story and a roof, we set off to find the Haitian version of Lowes or Home Depot. The building supply store was a shack no bigger than a one car garage.
We ordered 600 concrete blocks. The man called for three boys. One he sent with a wheelbarrow to the hills to get gravel. The second he sent with a wheelbarrow to the beach to get sand. The third he sent with a wheelbarrow to his house down the road to get cement. The man pulled out a board, a number of wooden boxes, and a handle with a board on the end from behind the shed. When the boys returned, they started making bricks. They mixed the gravel, sand, cement and water in unmeasured portions on the board. They placed the mixture in a box, pressed it down with the handle, and turned the brick out on the ground. Some bricks leaned left, some leaned right, some were 8 inches high, some were 5 inches high, and some just fell apart on the ground. The man told us to come back in two days. They would be ready.
So we gave him a three page list of the lumber we needed. The man called two more boys. One got in a pit under a big log and the other got on top. With a bucksaw they started splitting the log. The man said come back in four days. They would be ready.
In frustration we went to the bishop and poured out our many complaints.
The bishop said, "You have come to Haiti to build a church. Now you understand the difficulties that Christ has in building His Church. Some people who were building the Church before you did not understand the plan fully so things are not straight and not square. Christ made compensation for that. Some builders did not have the power they needed so built little. Christ made compensation for that. Some of the bricks that Christ used to build the Church lean left, some lean right, some stand up tall, some do not, and some just crumpled. Christ made compensation for that. Some of the boards He has to use are uneven, full of knots, and are warped. Christ made compensation for that."
So we went and did likewise.
Prayer: Lord, help us to remember our limitations. Help us to your compensation, and find the blessing in all things. Help us to be more like you. Amen.