Saturday, March 8, 2014

Building faith out of Legos

"The best teamwork comes from men who are working independently toward one goal in unison."
-James Cash Penney

I got my first set of legos when I was 24.

I still remember the excitement and trepidation I felt in ordering the set. It was a volkswagon van, much like the one that stars in my favorite book of all time, Through Painted Deserts. It was way too many pieces for me to even imagine doing myself- it came with two books of instructions (apparently, one did not hold enough pages). My friends and I spent some time that summer together building it, creating it, making it into the masterpiece it looked like in the end. It was quite an experience for me, having everyone together to help make this thing that I thought was so awesome... the finished product meant more to me than the the original symbolism I had purchased it for. It was a puzzle with too many pieces- on my own, it would have been daunting. But with my friends, it was fun.

When it comes to big projects, I am often capable of doing the work myself, but I rarely like to fly solo. I love the feeling of being on a team, part of a group. It doesn't have to be a large group- in fact, I usually prefer working in a closer, more intimate setting, because it gives me the chance to understand each player and their consistencies. But the feeling of camaraderie- of completing together, of sharing victory is the one that I really thrive with. 

Lately, I realize more and more how much my life as a believer needs to be a team effort. 

See, once upon a time, I lived under the lonely dissolution that because my faith was a personal one, it needed to be lived out in isolation. Some of the environments I spent most of my time in left me the only christian for miles and miles. Other's gave me the opportunity to spend time with other people who believed the base message, but didn't allow themselves to live in such a way that showed it had changed them. For many years, I allowed myself to be in situations where my faith was tested and tried at every moment and every turn. It was a really difficult way to try to connect to God, and while some of the moments where He met me are nothing short of amazing, it was a hard existence.

I was lonely. And it was straining my relationship with God.

Eventually, when I realized what a tragedy it all was, I started to pray. And listen. God started giving me believing friend after believing friend, all of whom loved in a big way. They invited me into their homes and social circles. Suddenly, I was connected across many states with many people who could encourage and lift me up. In some cases, they were physically there for me, able to hug or pray with me, and I with them. At other times, we were separated, but connected by telephones and computers and mutual prayers for one another. My relationship with God was thriving as my relationships with others grew stronger.

Even as far back as Adam, God saw that we would not do well on our own. So when He sent His son to earth, He didn't just give insight to a few individuals living across the world- even Jesus had a community following Him and His teachings. After the death, resurrection, and acesension, these followers lived together, giving one another all they had- time, money, physical and emotional support... they shared it all. They sent their missionaries out in groups, and when that wasn't possible, pairs. They clothed and fed the poor, and cared for the widows. No one was left alone. They were a team working in all things. 

God wants our hearts; He wants us to open and honest about our faith in Him. (Romans 10:10) He wants us to love one another. (Mark 12:31) He wants us to recognize Him as our only salvation. (John 14:6). And He wants us to do all these things here on earth, in preparation for the eternity we will spend with Him. This is why He leads us to honesty, to loyalty, to faithfulness. When we practice these things with our other human friends, we strengthen the skills that we need for our relationship with our Maker. 

My faith is a lego van
, starting out in small pieces with a huge instruction manual (two testaments, if you think about it). It felt daunting at first- bigger than anything I could handle on my own. But as I have invited others in to help me build it, we are growing together, putting the pieces together and making something wonderful. One day, when the project that is my life completes, I will be able to look back on all those who built it with me and smile fondly. This adventure is a team effort. I do not have to be lonely here- I can be surrounded with others who have the same ultimate picture in mind. And one day, when this earth passes away, we will spend eternity with what we have finished, and what we have become.
Picture from here

No comments:

Post a Comment