Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city,
spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what
will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while
and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live
and do this or that" (James 4:13-16).
My understanding of a construction site goes something like this: I see many workers,
each doing their perspective jobs. They are working diligently to raise up a structure
that will be safe, strong and enduring. I see them using their skills and abilities within
their designated area, yet they are not the ones with the plans. Instead they are
following one set of plans which are kept by the architect or foreman. He, the architect,
carries the plans with him from place to place, instructing the workers as to the
direction their work is to be going. There are many workers, but one architect. There are
many ideas as to how this structure could be built, but there is one plan. Imagine if all
the workers began building the structure according to their own set of plans--each
following his own set of blueprints without regard to the blueprints of the others. Who
knows what you would end up with.
Building the body of Christ is very similar. There are many workers. Each has been
equipped with skills and abilities to do their labor. And each are to follow the central
Plan of the Architect of the body. What would happen if each one had their own set of
blueprints to follow rather than following the blueprints of the Architect? Take a good
look at the Church today and you might find that answer a little more readily than you
would like to. We know that there is one and only one Architect of the Body of Christ,
that is the Head which is Christ Himself. Yet, to look at all the different churches,
locally and abroad, one might think that they each have their own set of plans--and in
most cases that would be right.
It is not enough that we become equipped to do a work, we must also follow the Plan to do
the job; and not our interpretation of the Plan, but the Plan as it directed by the
Architect, which is Christ. All of our training, education, skills and experience will
never make us to be the Architect. No matter what the nature of the work is that God gives
us to do, we are not the One who holds the Plans. We are to do the work we have been given
to do being directed by the One who holds the Plans. If we try to be the one's who make
the plans then we become disorganized in our efforts as one body. The result is that we
begin to follow our plans rather than following the Plan, which is Christ.
We within the church are notorious for developing plans and programs in the face of new
activities, growth or just the everyday church functions. We look at situations and begin
devising ways to accomplish a task in a format that is easy to follow and pleasantly
packaged. And then, if we can get the majority to agree, we proceed to carry out those
plans to the best of our abilities. It would probably shock us to know how much of this is
done without ever consulting the One who holds the Plans. Instead of asking for direction
from the One who holds the Plans for the whole Body, we are content to find a plan that is
suitable to our personal fragment of the body. We might even function adequately in and of
ourselves, getting things done that we set out to do; but as we fail to consult the
Architect, we neglect how what we do goes beyond the walls of our own church. And
therefore, we neglect the greater work of the whole as we embrace our own concerns of a
tiny fragment. Perhaps Jesus words apply here well, as he said, "[Ye] blind guides,
which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel" (Mt.23:24).
Seminary training, spiritual gifts and experiential learning do not give any one man, or
any group the right to take the role of the Architect. There is one Plan that was
established long ago in the Person of Jesus Christ. We are to follow Him alone. To follow
our plans is more comfortable, but it makes our plans out to be lord as we follow them. To
follow God's Plan is often uncomfortable as it will take us directions we are uncertain
of, and into places of unfamiliarity.
We cannot follow plans that are packaged to meet every situation. God alone knows all the
dynamics of any given situation. That is why we must be willing to abandon our agendas,
and our ways of doing things, and our incessant desire to bring spiritual issues into
terms our physical eyes can behold and understand.
This is not to say that we should lack organization. God is not the author of confusion.
But it is to say that if we will see the Body of Christ come together, we must stop
relying on ourselves to initiate the plan--and we must surrender the position of Architect
to Christ--the Master Builder.