When a family or organisation decide they are going to build something, and the architects drawings and planning consent is completed, a person is required to bring the whole building element of the project together. You see there are many trades in the building industry, most very skilled and all very different to one another. an electrician may be a terrible carpenter and cant lay a brick for a toffee. A brick layer may be fast and lay a brick wall with the kind of precision we amateurs could only dream of, but has little idea how to lay pipe so it doesn’t leak. hiring a plumber to fit your kitchen is daft, hiring a window fitter to build you a wardrobe is crazy, we wouldn’t do it. It is vital that we have the right person, with the right skills doing the right job. but more than that it needs a master craftsman, or a project manager who is overseeing the whole venture so he knows when it is time for each skilled task.
Project managers are well paid and its funny on the building programs like grand designs how often the clients will try and forego that person and either do it themselves or not have one at all. After all how hard can it be to sit in an office and order an electrician or a plumber or 6 tonnes of roof tiles. And the real answer that comes back every time in these kinds of TV programs is, its very hard.
A project manager understands the final picture, whereas each individual tradesman only understands their part of it. Often these trades fall out with one another, get in each other’s way or even stop another working. Imagine paying an electrician £40 an hour to know he is sat in his van eating a sandwich because he cant fit a switch because the wall isn’t up yet. Or imagine your brand-new, tens of thousands of pound of brand new, kitchen, is sat out in a building yard, getting wet and mucky cause the floor hasn’t been laid yet.
the work of a project manager is precision management, maximising efficiency and the budget so there is no idle time for the tradesmen, all materials are there when needed but not there when they would be at risk from the elements.
the skill of the project manager is they see the whole picture, they understand in what order something has to go, and they are working to complete the whole project, not just one part of it. Dare I say because of that they are worth every bit of their money, and the building projects which have a project manager succeed and come in on budget far better.
Now before you start think that I, as the pastor of the Church, think of myself as the project manager, let me assure you I am not. Friends I am a tradesman, with skills in his own field, meant to work along side each and everyone of you, who have skills in your field too. The project manager of our lives is of course none other than our Saviour and King Christ Jesus.
There is a scripture in proverbs which is repeated twice.
There is a way which seems right to a man, but the end of it is the ways of death. Proverbs14:12
There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end of it is the ways of death.
Often we approach our lives with the intent that we know what is right and we will make our own way in life. This seems like wisdom or at least the good attitude of a determined person. You may abhor people who seem to live with their hands out all the time, desperate for charity. You may look upon such people as failures and say to yourself I will never rely on others because that is not a right way to live. Yet had you considered that this independent way of thinking is not strength at all, its really a weakness.
The sands of Morecambe are treacherous, but when the tide is low you can walk the beach. There are guides who can take you, because they have walked it and they know the danger and you are not advised to go without one, for if you do, you will most likely perish. Who would attempt to be so foolish as to walk such a dangerous place without the guidance of the ones who know the way. The answer is no one.
Yet in life many people walk their own path and have Frank Sinatra’s “I did it my way” playing at the funeral. I wonder if you would think that such a good song if the reason for the passing was because that person ignored all good advice and tried to walk Morecambe sands alone with no guide. I think in that case the song would not be a celebration but more of foolish irony of a life lost for no good reason.
Our lives are not meant to be lived alone. Loneliness is a killer and many people suffer terribly from it. It is the lie that I must make my own way which causes it. What follows in those who live it is often bitterness at being lonely which manifests itself in a very sour person who then pushes away anyone who could be relief. Have you ever wondered why all your friends stop talking, it may be your own attitude has made you a not very nice person to be around. so of course, as the scriptures tell us, this leads to death, both physical and Spiritual.
But it isn’t going out and being with people which is the solution. The answer is to abandon your plans altogether and give them over to the Lord.
You see the Lord is building a city made of lots of buildings. He know what it should look like, He knows the finished picture. But God isn’t just the architect of the city, he is the project manager. And as such he knows the drains for the bathroom need to go in long before the foundations are laid. so he orders the plumber to come and lay them, rather than waiting till the bathroom fitter comes once the whole house is built and says, “where is the water supposed to drain out to” and thus all the new work must be destroyed.
I am of course talking pictorially. The City the Lord is building is a metaphor, because its you and me He is building, or helping to become what we should be. but its not you and me as individuals, its you and me together, like a city made up of various buildings, for differing functions, but still one city.
When we look at what God is doing in our lives, we are looking at it from the tradesman’s view. We can only understand it in the limitation of our mind and understanding. we ask why Lord has this happened to me, or why did I go through this situation, not knowing that God is making space for what is coming.
Because if He is the project manager of the world, then the end picture is in His view, and only in His view. He calls us to go and build on one another, but not as we like, rather as He commands. The challenge to us in growing in the Lord, serving one another as an act of love, and all else we might do, is to do it as the Lord commands us to do it, when to do it, and except He knows why to do it.
In my life I have done things in obedience to the Lord and to this day don’t know what benefit it had on others. yet I trust the Lord that He knows all things, the end from the beginning.
If today you are struggling to understand why the Lord is doing something, you can ask Him why but you also need to accept that He does know best. So for each of us the challenge is to let go of our independence and to become a servant of Jesus, His will, His way, and to know it is perfect.