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Friday, January 22, 2010

Nicaraguan construction crew

As I search for words to write I look out the window at the rain.  My
gaze widens to the wall in which the window is set.  If you ask what
the wall is made of, I'll respond "concrete blocks" (painted nicely,
I'll add).  But that's not the whole of the story.  Holding those
blocks together is mortar.  I rarely recognize the presence of the
mortar, but it is there - and it is vital.

I spent a couple of days this past summer working with a Nicaraguan
construction crew.  They were building a house for an elderly lady,
and my role was simply a laborer.  The blocks were already at the
building site and the foundation was in place.  My job was to help mix
the cement (the mortar) that would hold the blocks together.  Slowly
those blocks became walls, and sturdy ones at that.

I was instructed how to make the mortar: So many parts sand, so many
parts cement and so many parts water, all mixed together well using
shovels.  These men knew what they were doing, even if I didn't.  They
made sure the mortar was prepared just so.

No, I rarely think about the bond that holds together bricks and
blocks.  When I do, however, I quickly admit how important it is that
the mortar is in place.  Without it the blocks would sit unsteadily on
top of each other, and a strong wind would bring them down.  That
common bond is vital.

Paul spoke about another kind of bond in Ephesians 4:3: "Endeavoring
to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."  Some may not
be aware of the importance God's word places on unity.  The passage
just cited underscores that fact, as does 1 Corinthians 1:10: "Now I
plead with you, brethren, by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, that
you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among
you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in
the same judgment."  That's a tall order, is it not?  Achieving
oneness between people is tough.

Why is there this emphasis on "the bond of peace" or of being
"perfectly joined together"?  Look again at Paul's letter to the
Ephesians: "Having been built on the foundation of the apostles and
prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom
the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in
the Lord" (Ephesians 2:20,21).  Each Christian, Paul says, is like a
building block.  Our objective is to become a dwelling place for God,
a temple.

In the case of people, just as in the case of concrete blocks, there
must be a bonding agent.  But what can hold people together?  Is there

God's provision of people-mortar is found in Colossians 3:14: "But
above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection."
Love is that which can bring people together and hold them together.
It is a perfect bond.  Using a different image Colossians 2:2 makes
the point again: "... That their hearts may be encouraged, being knit
together in love ..."  Love will lead us to be intertwined like
threads in a piece of cloth.  1 Corinthians 13:8 is true: "Love never

Do we know love?  Do we know how to love?  The answers are given in
God's word and made especially plain in the life of Jesus Christ.
Everything we need to know about how to mix the mortar of
relationships is revealed in the Bible.  Let's get back to the Book
and learn these great lessons!

Come to the light God offers!  Study His word, the Bible.  Worship Him
in spirit and truth (John 4:24).  Get in touch with us if you'd like
to discuss these ideas further.  Tim Hall

Get a wide variety of Bible commentary and Bible study materials at today.  There are even FREE text sermons -, FREE  audio sermons -, and a FREE on-line commentary on the book of Romans: 

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