“Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness,
and his upper rooms by injustice,
who makes his neighbor serve him for nothing
and does not give him his wages,
who says, ‘I will build myself a great house
with spacious upper rooms,’
who cuts out windows for it,
paneling it with cedar
and painting it with vermilion.
Do you think you are a king
because you compete in cedar?
Did not your father eat and drink
and do justice and righteousness?
Then it was well with him.
He judged the cause of the poor and needy;
then it was well.
Is not this to know me?
declares the Lord.
But you have eyes and heart
only for your dishonest gain,
for shedding innocent blood,
and for practicing oppression and violence.” Jeremiah 22:13-17
“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8
Our flesh and our world tell us to build our lives around us, our careers to be applauded, our relationships to be fulfilling, our days around our preferred or necessary activities, our fortresses to insulate from harm and anything distasteful. The end of this life-orientation is ultimately meaningless; a spacious edifice for cedar and cinnabar will be empty of all but woe. But God presents a different way to build, where all can be well, now and forever. (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3,8)
If I am driven to construct my own great house, in ministry or any work, I may fall to taking advantage of, mistreating, or devaluing others who get in my way. My project may become my idol, consuming time and energy on everything but walking humbly. But to build what God has prescribed and provided is to know Him and make Him known. We are stewards of His good and perfect plans, and build with the intangible bricks of righteousness and justice, honesty and compassion and humility. Our finished product is God’s honor, not our own, and the blessed good of others.
Are we willing to forego the temporal to invest in people, love, and God’s word that will never pass away? Where, and with what means, are we building beauty that brings glory to its Creator, not to self? For what ends do we employ our ‘stuff’– personal recognition, or exaltation of the Giver of every gift? (James 1:17)
How can I invest most wisely to introduce people to Jesus, to spread and apply the Gospel? How am I enriching others’ lives in ways that will last, storing for them treasures in heaven and not on earth? With every guest hosted, every meal served, every gift purchased and given, every note written, am I spreading the fragrance of Christ, unveiling the glories of God, pointing individuals to their Redeemer? (2 Corinthians 2:15; Colossians 3:17)
“By wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” Proverbs 24:3-4
Lord, capture my eyes and heart only for You. Help me love and employ kindness in every effort. May I carefully and energetically build according to Your righteous plans, for the gain of Your glory in the earth.