Despite the onslaught of blinking, chirping and buzzing electronic toys on the market, I’ve never seen a child turn down the opportunity to play with blocks. Each child, grandchild, niece or nephew who has pulled out the toys basket at our house has enjoyed them.
Blocks are simple, aren’t they? Yet, somehow, they are fascinating.
I remember the looks of complete joy on the faces of our kids and grandkids as they completed a giant tower. Their satisfied expressions spoke clearly of the sense of completion and creativity that simple block building can bring. But, have you ever seen a completed block tower stand for any length of time?
It is too much fun to knock the block towers down and start over.
It is interesting to consider that this timeless form of play could actually be a foreshadowing of life as an adult. We build. Things fall apart. We build again. The unexpected happens. We rebuild. The pattern goes on and on.
Unlike children who rebuild their block towers with enthusiasm and excitement, rebuilding as an adult can be a challenge. Often, we are surrounded by the wrong kind of blocks — mental blocks. We grow weary. We lose hope. We don’t really want to rebuild. We want to take a vacation. We want to run away. We want to take a nap.
Wake up. There is hope.
As a church, a nation and a world, we are trying to rebuild our lives even as COVID, political unrest, natural weather disasters and weariness threaten to overwhelm us. God’s Word, of course, gives us the wisdom we need to start rebuilding in the whirlwind.
Before we can rebuild our world, we need to build or build rebuild what is inside of us.
We cannot move forward with a rickety, broken spirit.
God’s Word gives us the building blocks we need for internal renewal and strength.
Early in His ministry, Jesus gave us very special building blocks for all the building and rebuilding that our lives entail. Those lessons from the Sermon on the Mount teach us about the importance of lining up our hearts and all that is in them with Jesus’ heart and all that is in it.
With hearts like Christ’s we can change the world. We will never measure up to Him and we will stumble, but with eyes on Him and hearts yearning to be like Him, we will succeed.
How do we build and rebuild in the whirlwind? Here is what Jesus taught.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs in the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 5:3
This verse speaks of need. When we are poor, we need. When we realize that we need Christ, we have heaven in our future. With the hope of heaven, we are equipped to move forward.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” -Matthew 5:4
Good news, if you are mourning, it is because you have the capacity to love and to care. Isn’t it refreshing to know that we will be comforted and that we are blessed because we mourn?
Take time to lament. It’s a blessed process.
“Blessed are those who are meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” -Matthew 5:5
Scholars tell us that “gentle” is the best word to describe how the word “meek” is used in this context. In a world where the loud and self-serving rattle their cages and demand attention, be gentle. Promote Christ and not yourself. Amazingly, and counter to all that culture teaches us, you will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness’ sake, for they shall be satisfied.’ -Matthew 5:6
A desire for righteousness is a springboard to action. When you take action to further Christ’s kingdom, you are satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” -Matthew 5:7
Mercy opens doors to great communication and understanding. Mercy opens doors to a peaceful life. A peaceful life is blessed.
“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” -Matthew 5:8
Actions taken and words spoken from a pure heart bring us right into God’s presence. The things we say or do with a self-centered or world-centered heart push us away from closeness with our Father.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” -Matthew 5:9
Those who love people over selfish needs and reflect that peace of Christ will reap many benefits. Internal peace brings external peace.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 5:10
God is pleased when His people value righteousness over acceptance and comfort. He is pleased when we stand firm for Him because we understand that He stands firm for us.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” -Matthew 5:11-12
There are great rewards in heaven for those who proclaim for Christ when the world throws stones.
It is interesting that the verses following these building blocks from Jesus are the scriptures that tell us that we must be salt and light in this world. It appears that Jesus was describing what we needed on the inside to have an outside impact.
It is helpful to look at each of these instructions from Christ as we look ahead and begin to rebuild our homes, our culture and our church. The lesson is clear: We must have the tender heart of a servant, yet we need to be servants who are fully committed to God. We must plan ahead to stand strong for Him when hard winds blow.
When mental blocks begin to stack up against your desire to serve and to rebuild, take a look at these spiritual principles. Firm up your heart and renew your spirit with the building blocks given to us by the Creator and Builder of all.