So houses have been on my mind a lot lately. We sold our house, looked at many houses in anticipation of buying a house, selected a house, and are now preparing to renovate the house. I’ve also been preaching about ‘building a house of faith’ as a metaphor for growing faith in our lives. Along with all this I’ve been in and out of many different homes over the past six months from condos to borrowing a room to airBnB’s, to a retreat space. Houses have been a part of my life as of late!
What strikes me is how we build houses in our culture. In my understanding it takes about nine months. Nine long months. An eternity to wait for a house it seems to some! Yet the way we build houses in Canada is we do them quick and relatively cheap (though the price certainly isn’t cheap when we pay for it). In Europe houses are meant to be in a family for generations so often the quality (in my limited understanding) is good. Things are built to last. Here in Canada we often build houses not so they’ll last for 200 years, rather to get what we want now with little thought to twenty years down the road.
I’ve often described the sense of urgency and immediacy in our culture as being a ‘fast food faith’. I’ll write more about that another time, but in essence our needs for instant gratification and instant results has become ingrained in our journey as disciples. I think this permeates it’s way into housing, but also into our faith. In churches we want the immediate results from the latest program. As individuals we want to watch the right video or read the proper book to get the answers we want right now.
Yet in looking at houses I’ve realized quality takes time and is worth it. In my journeys over the past year I’ve encountered a home built by a builder. That isn’t quite correct- that’s his vocation not his identity. You see I would suggest that he is a craftsman. His craft is building and construction. Obviously he builds to the standard of clients, however when he builds for himself you can see his character and quality. When he built his house he was able to do it the way he wanted to, and the best way I can describe it is he crafted it. It took time, but his attention to detail and quality is second to none. His house was not just a project but I would suspect a strong labour of love. The time put in was deemed worth it for the result desired. The result is a house that will last and stand the test of time.
There’s something in that for us to learn about faith. Our faith is not solely about a prayer we prayed when we decided to follow Jesus. Rather the path of discipleship is letting the Holy Spirit work in us and through us crafting our faith and growing our faith. It takes time. It takes work. It takes attention to detail in our lives. Do we want results that will stand the test of time? Do we want faith that will survive generations because we invested deeply in it?
If we ask almost any parent if they want their children to have faith, they would say absolutely! Well then the best way to do that is to spend the time and attention nurturing both our faith and our family’s faith. Crafting our discipleship rather than just rushing it. Recognizing that our faith is a life long journey that requires attention, love, and at times focus on the details of life.
Like a house, the time put into our faith I hope is deemed worth it for the desired result we seek – being fully devoted followers of Jesus. So as we head into a new school year let’s step out of the routine of our culture, and let’s invest longterm in our discipleship as a craft we share with one another and as a labour of love for our God.