Several years ago my Pastor* mentioned something in one of his sermons that resonated with me and initiated a process in my way of thinking that continues to mold me. Here I will take the point he made and expound on it.
When a mason builds a brick wall, he starts at the ground and builds up. He cannot start at the top and work down – for obvious reasons.
Also, he has a strategy. He does not lay a brick here or there and hope the wall comes together in the end. He must lay one brick at a time, end to end. He does not use mortar on some and not others. He uses it with each one. The bricks must also stagger in order for the wall to be strong.
If you have ever played with Legos, you know this from experience. If you build rows of bricks, one lined up exactly on top of the other, you essentially end up with a lot of columns of bricks that are not connected and therefore have no stability or structural integrity. You must stagger them to make a sound structure.
In addition to the essential pattern of laying brick that builds strength, you will also note that a wall isn’t built up all at once. The lower layers must have time for the mortar to harden. If you build too quickly before the mortar hardens, the weight of the wall will make it unstable and it can easily fall. The slightest bump of the wall will bring it down.
These rules seem simple when we apply them to brick laying. However, somehow we tend to get ahead of ourselves and even God’s plan for us in life when we build too rapidly without careful placement and a sound structure. In our modern fast-paced society we tend to lack patience. We tend to want things immediately and at our fingertips as quickly as possible. We have forgotten to be deliberate, methodical, pensive and patient as we build our character, our business, our faith. When we suffer trials, we anxiously hope to get through them quickly rather than focusing on how they deepen our character and resolve.
James 1:2-4 says, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
My friend Kris noted how much this illustration resonated with me. When she came to visit me one day following that sermon, she brought me a bright red brick and a box of chalk. She knows how I struggle with over-thinking and stressing, and getting ahead of myself. Her brilliant idea was that I should write one thing on that brick to concentrate on at a time.
I still have that brick, and I am working my way through that box of chalk. ONE BRICK AT A TIME. Build your life, your faith, your relationships, your business… without taking shortcuts…. and with methodical integrity and perseverance. It may take longer to reach your goals, but your foundation, character, and success will be solid and sustainable.
*Pastor Steven Furtick, Elevation Church, Charlotte, NC elevationchurch.org