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Seeds of the Kingdom

Unless the Lord builds the house

by Margaret Southey

6 February 2009

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Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain.
Psalm 127:1, NIV

When the truth of this Scripture dawned on me, I got a shock. It was clear to me that my life could be compared with the house and I could be compared with the labourer. Whatever I did in my life that was not in accordance with God’s will for it would be useless. The Oxford dictionary describes ‘in vain’ as meaning ‘to no purpose, with no result, uselessly’.

Understanding this Scripture was a turning point in my life because I do not want to spend my life doing things that are to no purpose in God’s eyes.

I began examining the motives we have for some of the things that we do. Sometimes it is to please the selfish person within. It may be to please others and gain their favour or acceptance. It could be to build self-esteem by exhibiting our capabilities. We may exhaust our energy serving others, or, perhaps, as a payment to God for some sin or possibly because we see ourselves as indispensable to some people or situations. These are just a few of the motives that spur us on. None of these come from God.

Having spent many years of my life as a doer, I am learning to go slowly before I act, to examine my motives and prayerfully to ask God whether what I am about to do is of him.

Clearly we are not called to submit every tiny action to God, like, for example, whether we have an apple or an orange for breakfast. God means us to make most routine decisions on our own. There are also times when we submit a decision we have to make to God and he tells us to choose.

What about the times when we have prayed and prayed and still do not know what God is saying? It seems that when we prayerfully and carefully move in the direction that seems right, God redirects us if we are on the wrong track. He honours our having sought his will.

What about the times when we, like the labourer, have acted without God? We have a merciful Father who, when we confess our sins, forgives us and offers us another chance.

Prayer: Father I want to live a life that has a purpose and is fruitful. I can do this only to the extent that I submit to your will. Help me please Lord to seek your will and way and to be obedient in following it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Margaret Southey is a wife, mother and grandmother. She has had a career in education. Her passion is to understand the truth of God’s Word and to share it with others. She is part of the ministry and teaching team of Ellel, Africa.


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