Today in chapel, I continued the series we are doing called Unfinished Business. We are focusing on areas of our lives as believers where we are still “under construction”.
I preached a message from Philippians 1:3-6 on God’s promise to finish the good work he has started in us. The sermon was meant to be an encouragement to students who are feeling discouraged that the remodelling of their souls is going much slower than hoped.
I closed by reading an article written by Christian musician, Rich Mullins. Both Linda and I (and our kids) love Rich’s music—it’s honest, creative and thoughtful. Rich also was a writer and this piece was originally printed in Release Magazine back in 1993. I still find it moves me each time I read it. Hope you do as well:
My new apartment is in the attic of Jim and Megan’s house. It’s a big old, one-roomer with a mind of its own… Its walls are loosely vertical and the whole thing is about two weeks away from being much more than a lot of potential. Right now it is resistant to change—openly hostile to my ideas of what it ought to be. But slowly, surely…I am, with the help of some friends, a hammer, a saw, some nails and a wrecking bar, enlightening it, changing its self-concept, convincing it that it is not merely an ugly, old attic—it is a great space that I would like to inhabit and be on friendly terms with—a space full of promise and beauty and order and life.
Sometimes… late at night when I look over the piles of dust and dry wall and knee-deep debris that remain during this reconstructive effort, I am strangely moved by the place and I proclaim the Gospel to it softly. I say, “I know how it hurts to be torn up. I am often choked on the litter left by my own remodelling. I know what it’s like to settle…into the despair of believing that you are wasted space….I know the pain of wanting to be changed and yet being distrustful of changes, of wanting to be worked on, but being suspicious of the intentions of the Worker.
But here is some good news: He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus. However messy it may be now, however confusing and scary it appears, however endless the task may seem, we will some day be glorious, beautiful, alive! There is much tearing out to do—a lot to give up. No thin coat of new paint will do. It’s not good enough to cover up imperfection; it must be corrected. Art, beauty, function—these things take time. They make take ‘til the day of Christ Jesus.”
But we are not wasted space, we are temples of a Being greater than ourselves, temples being built to be inhabited and brought to life. Though we many not understand the process our rebuilder does. We are His workmanship and the place where He lives.
Little attic, do not despair! I’m being made by a Master Carpenter. I’m learning a little about building too.
You can read the full text of Attics and Temples here.