Friday, January 09, 2004

"The Third Floor Remodel Project"
-by Mike Woelk (26 Aug 2003).

I have been using a third-floor corner of a 19th century building as an early-morning prayer closet. The building has a storied history, being home to many successful enterprises over its century. But some time ago it became obvious to the owner that in its present condition, the third floor was no longer profitable.

Over the past few months all the walls have been torn out to produce a very large room destined to be a banquet hall for the restaurant on a lower floor.

Not everyone agreed with the owner. "Those old offices are too lovely to tear out." "That floor layout made a lot of money." But the owner had a keen business mind, and he could look beyond appearances and the successful past. He had only one thing in mind: a profitable future.

He had plans to use all that was salvageable, all that had a place in his new purpose. Throughout the summer a young man who worked for the building owner carefully tore out the old.

Some material, like antique windows and doors, would have a place in the new order, but they would require some costly and time-consuming renovation if they were to be used again. Hopefully they would be able to withstand the process. Hopefully they would not crack or break under the strictures of renovation.

Some things were not touched. Four columns down the middle of the room, even though they will be in the way in a banquet room, are left standing. They support the ceiling.

But some of the work was merciless work with a sledge hammer and crow bar. Some material was so entrenched in the old structure that it was unsalvageable and had to be crushed out and carried away. Some material, though once beautiful and valuable, was too outdated to be of use.

In this season the Lord is taking a wrecking crew to old houses. But He wants to salvage many believers for use in a new house. There are disadvantages to being a living stone in the House of the Lord rather than an inanimate brick. Living stones can choose whether they will be removed from the old. They must decide whether they will give up their sizeable investments in the old in order to be a part of the new. They can choose whether they will submit to the removal blemishes and scars. Other men who are not the owner, who have not made costly investments, come along with attractive ideas of their own. Living stones must decide whether they will volunteer to be a part of some other project which is presented before time. They can choose whether they will lie quietly and wait their time to be placed again in a new thing.

Another problem for living stones is that they do not have the vision or perspective of the Owner. They often only know where they have been and what they have done. So they must trust the owner by faith. Even those living stones which are themselves builders, apostles, must be prepared, as was Paul, to sit even for years until the Lord separates them from the pile and places them in the new structure.

To my delight, a few weeks later the old walls were completed - most of the cracked and disfigured plaster had been removed, and the foundational brick brushed down to be used as solid wall and fashionable finish. As with the House of the Lord, what was foundational still had to be in place or the building would be ruined completely. The basic principles of Christ are not to be hidden.

The third floor is almost ready. The market demand in our city for such a banquet and meeting facility is large. Success is a sure thing. So too, I believe that the processes of the Lord's House rebuilding is approaching readiness for revival.

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