How to Build a House that Speaks the Right Things

For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Cor. 3:9 (NIV)

“A house tells a lot about the person who lived in it,” my husband, the carpenter mumbled. He looked his grimy self, covered with sawdust, clothed in painter’s attire. 

“I’m sure the owner of our previous house is wondering why I did some things the way I did.” 

It was a generous comment since we left our house in pretty good shape within and without.

His forehead is puckered in the concentration of wondering where the electrical wires are connected and placement of new ones. He is a blur of back and forth, grunts and perspiration. Men tend to make a lot of noise when they work. 

The house we bought is in good shape, it just needs some love and updating. I’m a long way from the love at this point but knee deep in updating. 

“He liked security and privacy,” Phil said. He’d found Fort Knox bolts in the window casing. An absence of internal stairs to the basement assured a private workspace below, and floodlights light up deer passing the bedroom at night.  I know the lady of the house must have enjoyed the color pink, hooks in surprising places, and gardening. 

But his comment made me think. 

What will the next generation read from the footprints I leave behind?  Will they find shoddy workmanship or will I leave behind a blueprint of obedience and trust in the Master Builder?

…For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ.” 1 Cor. 3:11 (NIV)

The apostle Paul instructed the Corinthians to remember God Himself is the foundation of the church and core of our faith. He didn’t want the fledgling church to leave behind a pile of rubbish for the next generation. 

“If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is…” 

I want to paint, finish the flooring and hang curtains. I’m impatient to put my cosmetic finishes on this home. But, without attending to the stuff in between the walls and underneath the floors, parts no one sees, the house I leave behind for the next generation will be a pile of sticks. 

My husband, the wise rebuilder is first making sure its bones and marrow are healthy. 

“…because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work.” 1 Cor. 3:12-13 (NIV)

Paul wrote His letter for the Corinthian church for believers way-back-then but with eyes looking far-ahead-to the future. Division within the church ran rampant. The church clung to the worldly culture from which it came. Morality was attacked. Political and religious ideology wobbled its walls and sinful living threatened to overthrow even its pillars. Changing loyalties swayed believers. 

Sounds kinda like today.

But there is a picture far greater than what meets the eye. 

The Creator of the universe came to earth to live as the son of a carpenter. 

He understood building, foundations and sound walls. The One who spoke our world into being, submitted Himself to the disciplines of a hammer and saw. 

“Do it right the first time,” my husband tells me when he finds yet another thing under the surface to fix, yet another delay toward the finishing touches. 

I might be guilty at times of wanting to speed up the house process by covering over some of the glaring imperfections rather than fixing them. I might chafe with impatience, but short cuts rarely produce the end results we hope for. 

I am glad Jesus is interested in the inward construction of hearts and minds. I am thankful He provides an enduring foundation. I am so grateful for the patient instruction He provides through His Word, a perfect blueprint for daily living. And I hold tightly to His promise of a home ahead built to last throughout all eternity. 

A house tells a lot about the person who lived in it. 

May we build strong and solid.

22 Replies

  1. Marilyn Nutter Reply

    So much here Sylvia. I know you’ll find more lessons as you continue and hope you’ll share them. One of my takeaways is what the next generation will learn from my footprints- what am I leaving? Thanks again for inspiration.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Marilyn, as always you have encouraged me. Thanks so much for your comments. Yes, I too have been challenged to consider what I leave behind.

  2. J.D. Wininger Reply

    What a great lesson about the legacy we are building with each day Ms. Sylvia. More than just what we leave behind, it is also what we will one day be judged upon to determine the rewards that remain. Well said author! And yes, we’re noisy when we work because we work hard! 🙂 That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Please ask Mr. Phil to be really careful up there in those high ceilings.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      J.D. Really? But do you have to grunt? Thanks so much for reading and commenting. As always your kindness brightens my day!

  3. Nancy Speizer Reply

    “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain” Ps 127:1

    Thank you Syl!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Why didn’t I think of that verse before! It was a verse we read the night we got engaged. Thanks for bringing that to my mind!

  4. John Certalic Reply

    Well put, Sylvia. I always enjoy your writing and perspective on things.

  5. Jeannie Waters Reply

    Sylvia, thank you for a powerful illustration of building our lives well as God leads. Please continue updates on the house as you and Phil work and share applicable truths. I love your writing.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Jeannie. I keep thinking people must be tired of our remodeling saga, but the Lord keeps teaching me through it! Appreciate so much your comment.

  6. Shannon Bradley Reply

    Great writing! Exemplary and endearing people. …and that picture! lol Phil, be careful! You being precariously perched on multiple ladders over a missing floor while working on electrical equipment should be recognized. To continue God’s metaphor, sometimes ministry takes a similar blend of courage, skill, and hard work. Thanks Sylvia!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Oh my yes. Ministry without a doubt requires all that, courage, skill and hard work. It also pulls at the soul, which can be the greatest test. And thank you…Phil scares me half to death with his acrobatics. I feel validated….

  7. Joshua J Masters Reply

    What a wonderful analogy. May we all be aware of what we’re building in our lives and what that says to others about our relationship with Christ.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks so much Joshua. Yes, I definitely need to be aware of what I’m building. We have 14 grandchildren, it’s a bunch coming after! Thanks for your kind words!

  8. Tammy L Kennington Reply

    Such a lovely word picture of constructing lives worth living, Sylvia. You have so many takeaways in this article–I’ll need to reread a few times. Peace and grace, Tammy

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Tammy, I appreciate your comment so much. I’m so glad you enjoyed it.

  9. Janet Certalaic Reply

    I loved your comments. Always Biblical and applicable,but they touch the heart of the matter. Miss seeing your lovely faces. Where are you,by the way?

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Janet, Thank you so much! I’m so delighted to hear from you! Thanks so much for reading and responding. We are in Virginia. We would love to see you both as well!

  10. Philip Pace Reply

    Mmm, I can smell the fresh cut wood from here! Beautiful analogies here! Sawdust may permeate for a while but something in the Word reminds me about beauty coming from the ashes? Thanks for the encouragement today! We sure miss you guys! Praying for you to persevere in this remodel!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Phil! Really appreciate your reading and your comment. Grateful for you guys…and the remodeling bonds through the years!

  11. Katherine Pasour Reply

    Enjoyed your message. Your husband’s perseverance and determination to “get it right” remind me of my favorite builder. Your message is an inspiring reminder that we are always building, and each of us has a place in that construction crew of faith and love.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Katherine! You are right, we are always building, aren’t we? How important it is to have the right materials! Appreciate your comment!