When we build together

“Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon when he heard that they had anointed him king in place of his father, for Hiram always loved David. And Solomon sent word to Hiram, ‘You know that David my father could not build a house for the name of the Lord his God because of the warfare with which his enemies surrounded him… But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side. There is neither adversary nor misfortune. And so I intend to build a house for the name of the Lord…’ Now therefore command that cedars of Lebanon be cut for me. And my servants will join your servants, and I will pay you for your servants such wages as you set, for you know that there is no one among us who knows how to cut timber like the Sidonians.’

As soon as Hiram heard the words of Solomon, he rejoiced greatly and said, ‘Blessed be the Lord this day, who has given to David a wise son to be over this great people.’ And Hiram sent to Solomon, saying, ‘I am ready to do all you desire in the matter of cedar and cypress timber…’ At the king’s command they quarried out great, costly stones in order to lay the foundation of the house with dressed stones. So Solomon’s builders and Hiram’s builders and the men of Gebal did the cutting and prepared the timber and the stone to build the house.” 1 Kings 5:1-8,17-18

There is nothing like working together, to build something bigger than ourselves, to unite people. Ruling separate kingdoms, leaders in their own right, Solomon and Hiram continued the warm relationship the king of Tyre had enjoyed with Solomon’s father, David. The new king graciously received Hiram’s congratulatory entourage, and Hiram enthusiastically agreed that their servants would collaborate to build a house for the name of the Lord. (2 Samuel 5:11)

When our greatest interest is defending our turf, or promoting our own swagger and importance, we build barriers, put off others, and destroy opportunities to work with them for a greater good. So much of our thinking and information-gathering focuses on ourselves- what we deserve, how we present. If instead we spent that time and effort searching out the needs of others, and how we might contribute to God’s kingdom in our churches and communities, we might reorder our living for something bigger than ourselves. Setting aside our stubbornness, contributing to what will outlast us, and investing to bring glory to God by making an eternal difference in people’s lives, honors Him and begets great joy.

We were all strangers and without hope before we knew Christ. Jesus came to remove dividing walls and hostility, not only between us and Him, but among His people. His blood bought our peace, so we could grow and build together on a common foundation to construct a beautiful, holy temple, His Body, that exalts His name. What difference would it make to the world’s impression of the church if we set aside negotiable differences and worked together, in love, mutual respect, and common purpose? (John 13:35; Ephesians 2:12-22)

Lord, may I decrease and You increase. Help me do my part of dwelling and building together in unity with others. May I consistently extend the grace and love You have lavished on me to them, for the exaltation of Your name. (Psalm 133:1; John 3:30)

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