We are big Lego fans at our house and we loved the movie. Have you seen it? What did you think? One of my favorite moments was when the main character, Emmet, tells the master builders that they are all so creative but if they work together they can accomplish more…be better…take on the world. And then there’s THAT song to reinforce the point, “Everything is awesome…everything is cool when you’re part of a team.”
I am blessed to interact with some amazing “master builders” online. They serve the Man Upstairs with their talents and are constantly using their creativity to point others to the Master of their lives; their Lord and Savior. It would be easy for these builders to use their gifts to build their own kingdoms, but I am refreshed and inspired by the way I observe them working together as a team. Like the amazing team at (in)courage and the dynamic women of IF: GATHERING. From my vantage point, they cheer each other on and rallying around a greater cause, like in The Lego Movie…working together for good- to overcome evil, aligning objectives to produce more far-reaching results, and laying aside their “rights” for the sake of community. Thus, having a greater impact for the Master’s Kingdom because they are a team. They link arms for the Lord…not because it’s easy (because it’s not), but, because their foundation is the bricks of His Word. Their common denominator is Jesus.
My husband is trained to help others improve their teamwork. Often in team-development there is communication breakdown, frustrations, butting of heads, misunderstandings…but, these bumps are valuable- as they are addressed it strengthens the team. Community is challenging, teamwork can be tricky, BUT, God has designed us to need each other, to sharpen one another, to be better; together.
Remember the Tower of Babel? All those people (all the people of the world, in fact) working together, against the Lord’s clear command to fill the earth. They said, “‘Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.’ But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. ‘Look!’ he said. ‘The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.’”
The people disobeyed. They were wise in their own eyes (see Isaiah 5:20-24). They purposed to build a great city, for themselves…to make themselves famous, to keep their thing going. They united in a cause that gravely deviated from God’s plan and will. God said that in their unity nothing they set out to do would be impossible for them. Scary. Because they were unified for evil, for pride, for self-glory.
BUT. Let’s turn this around. IF we are united…obedient…seeking His wisdom…building on the foundation of His Word, a tower (a beacon, a community, a people) that points to the Lord- for His fame and His glory; then, might the impossible become possible?! Might the Holy Spirit come upon us and the power of God overshadow us…for nothing is impossible with God (see Luke 1:30-38).
As I watched bits and pieces of the IF: GATHERING I was convicted…how many times have I discounted other believers and judged my brothers and sisters in Christ because we are different? Like the characters in the movie (Spaceship Benny to Wyldstyle, from Batman to MetalBeard), we are a mixed bag. It would be easy to focus on those differences and get distracted by each others’ quirks and hangups…or, we could focus our energy, our talents, our callings and get down to business (pun intended). Isn’t it like the enemy to get us to turn on each other, getting frustrated by the nuances we find- that we forget why we are on this team in the first place?
And as I wrestle in my flesh, this is what I read this morning...“For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything.“
Jesus. First place in everything…all things created through and for Him. In Him all things hold together. He is the Head of this body.
And so my friends, we join hands and we look to Him and we use our part in this Body to help build each other up while we exalt God; raising Him to His rightful place- in our hearts, in our homes, in our community- in this world. When we poke and prod at one another the world tunes us out, but, when we link arms…fit the bricks together (regardless of color, or size, or style), then there is a rainbow bright; a bow pointing to Christ. A tower of lives, built upon the pillars of God’s Word; uncompromising in Truth, gracious in non-essential differences.
Ephesians 4:15-16 “but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”
And so, I am apologizing here. Confessing all those secret, or not-so-secret judgments I have passed, criticisms I have uttered, fingers I have pointed. I am waking up…grieved by the time I’ve wasted (living to earn approval and being contentious so as to build myself up and make me feel “enough” or “better), BUT, thankful that it’s not too late. Not too late to apologize. I turn and see those serving shoulder to shoulder. Not just seeing those leading, but those serving in amazing, quiet ways. Like today, a sweet sister, committing to pray for others week-by-week; using her time to raise the voice of her heart up to heaven; a fragrant, selfless offering; making eternal impact. And maybe her soft whispers are actually louder in His ears than my voice echoing with shouts of passion from a microphone?
Regardless. We are all needed. He fits us together for His glory. He arranges us on the grid and equips us to take the risk of working together; in community. “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk to bloom” (Anais Nin). And why? Why do we risk this, when it would be easier to go our own way? When we could build a comfy tower for ourselves? Because this Master Builder, the Creator- GOD…He, with His Master Plan…brought the missing piece, Jesus…in love, in power, in mystery. Redeemer. And made everything awesome; not easy, but awesome.
As a child of the 80’s my dad got irritated that “everything was awesome”. The word was so overused then. “My 5 inch bangs look awesome today!” “Have you heart the awesome new song by New Kids on the Block?!” “You are totally awesome at Super Mario Brothers!” You get the idea. But when I looked up the actual definition of this word, I was silenced.
Awesome– “1. inspiring an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration, or fear; causing or inducing awe: an awesome sight.
2. showing or characterized by reverence, admiration, or fear; exhibiting or marked by awe.”
We know not everything is awesome. But He is. And I believe when we work as a team, His team, then the world is silenced as they begin to see Jesus through us. May a feeling of reverence and awe come over us as we reach out to each other and build together for God.
Nehemiah 2:18 “…then they said, ‘Let us arise and build.’ So they put their hands to the good work.” Take a few minutes to read Nehemiah 4…they served shoulder to shoulder, with their weapons in one hand as they worked- rebuilding what had been destroyed.
Could the weapon be the very thing that the Tower of Babel builders were working against? The Word of God and the unity, and power, found in rallying around a common cause- the rebuilding of His kingdom- the spreading of His truth- against the backdrop of a broken-down, power-hungry world that is full of people building a name for themselves.
Colossians 3:1-4 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.“
I am glad to be a part of this team, with you, as we build for Christ.