My husband is a builder, even though he doesn’t do it for a living right now. He is a builder at heart. I know whenever he is priming to build something new, because the first thing that comes out is the grid paper. He draws countless floorplans and elevations, considering the details and building it in his mind to solve avoidable problems. But if that was all he did, we wouldn’t have the home we have to live in, or the shop, or even the chicken coop (aka the chicken castle).
Imagining and planning is not enough, there must at some point be action. The reverse is also true: jumping in to build without the vision would be a disaster.
I think this is what the New Testament teaches in trying to help the early Christians understand about the relationship between faith and works. Between belief and acting on that belief. One does not exist without the other.
My husband couldn’t call himself a builder if all he did was draw pictures of what he wanted to build. In the same way, Matthew teaches us that:
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)
See? We can’t be a builder of the kingdom if all we do is study the Word at Sunday School. One cool way the Apostle Paul put it is that we are joint builders when we become Christians, joined with the master builder:
Much later, John the Revelator saw in vision a time of judgement that affirms that we really have to have something to show for all our time on earth, faith notwithstanding:
And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works. Revelation 20:12-13
So basically, there comes a time when the Client does a final walk-through to see if we build a good house. At this point, the grid paper drawings that were so essential at the beginning are no longer needed. Of course, on the next project, we’ll begin the same way. The process, the principles, are true and solid.
The Book of Mormon prophet Nephi wrote about the importance of this joint building process in this way:
For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do. 2 Nephi 25:23
We build our eternal character by faith, by working our little hearts out, and by joining ourselves to the Master Builder and partaking of his grace to get the job done. This is a long-term project, a lifelong project, but it is the best way, the only way, if we want great neighbors, the best:
In my Father’s house are many mansions…And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. (John 14:2-3)