Building Up or Breaking Down

The Latest Word from John Ed Mathison

When I was Pastor at Frazer during one of the construction projects, a big 40 ton crane was moved onto the church property. It had an 80 foot boom on it stretching up to the sky. It was to be used to put the second story beams in place for the new building.

I don’t know where the crane was used before it was brought to Frazer, but when it arrived it had those large steel balls that are used for tearing down buildings. When I inquired about them I was told that they were called “headache balls” (I didn’t have to ask how they got that name). Each of those big steel balls weighed several hundred pounds.

I was curious about the crane because it would be very helpful in setting the beams to put the roof on our new building. But if the wrong person got behind the controls of that crane, it could be used to tear down not only the new building, but also the existing sanctuary and educational space. In fact, I asked the foreman how long it would take somebody to tear down all of our buildings using that crane. He looked at me and smiled and said, “It could be done in a couple of days”.

Beautiful buildings that have taken months and months and months to build, yet they can be torn down in a couple of days. That just doesn’t seem right. The real Church (not brick and mortar) also takes a long time to build. But that Church can also be torn apart very quickly.

Each of us is like that crane – we have a capacity to build or tear down. Building requires commitment, prayer, and a lot of hard work. Little skill is required for tearing down – all it takes is a jealous heart, an unforgiving spirit, a critical attitude, a tendency to have hurt feelings, “I’m more spiritual than you” communication, a tendency to repeat something that might not be completely true, etc.

Be a part of the building team this year. Replace any “headache balls” with constructive attachments for witness and work.

[The above is an excerpt found on page 45 from the book Fishing for Birds by John Ed Mathison. Fishing for Birds is available through the John Ed Mathison Leadership Ministries.]

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