An accomplished architect was ready to build his dream home. He found and bought a beautiful piece of property with a creek and a mountain view. He drew up the plans and handed them over to contractors to make his dream home a reality. Then he left to wrap up things at his current residence in another state.
On the first day of the project, the contractors rolled up to the property. They were instantly inspired by the beauty of the land, and began discussing their ideas together. Once, someone asked about the architect’s plans, but the most experienced contractor said he’d taken a look at them in the beginning, and was sure their plans lined up just fine. So with that, they got to work.
Several times over the following months, the architect tried calling the contractors to check on the progress of his house, but he was always sent to voicemail. After leaving multiple messages with no response, the architect began to worry. But he knew his plans contained all the necessary instructions, and the contractors had promised to call if they had any questions. For now, he could only hope that meant all was well.
Meanwhile, the builders were working hard, and felt pretty good about their progress, but also were getting frustrated. Each had a different idea of what the architect wanted in his dream home. One would finish a day’s work, only for another to come along the next day and tear it down and build it again in the way they thought the architect would most like it. This cost a lot more time and money than was expected, as well as a few workers who got a bit fed up with it.
Once, someone asked if they should call the architect and ask for some direction. But the other contractors agreed that they were too busy to take time to talk to the architect, and that these trivial questions were not really worth his time anyway. They had enough experience between them, and knew the basic idea of the architect’s plan. And so, slowly but surely, the structure took shape.
Finally, the day came. The architect’s heart beat a little faster as he drove through the valley, imagining what his dream home would look like. He rounded the last corner to see…his house? It was his property, for sure—the same creek and mountain view. But what was that? A chicken coop? A tool-shed? An outhouse? And why was it sitting on the bank of the creek and not on the top of the hill? Where was his house?
As he walked toward the structure, he could see the contractors had worked hard to build it. There was a sparkly gold door, solar panels on the roof, even a slide from a window down to the creek.
“How do you like it?” The chief contractor walked up, beaming with pride.
The architect could barely get the words out. “Uh…it’s nice? But this looks nothing like the plans I gave you. Did you even read them? Did you lose them? And why wouldn’t you answer my phone calls?”
The contractor just laughed. “We knew you would love it, sir! What’s our next project? We can’t wait to get started!”
It’s exciting when we sense God’s call to serve. We see the need, and we are ready to take on the mission—for Jesus! But if we don’t take time to check in with the Architect, to ask Him about His plans for His work, to really listen to His heart…we can spend a lot of time and energy building something that looks more like our own agenda than His. Even worse, we may cause damage to His work.
On the other hand, when we take that time with our Creator; when we seek His heart—on our own and with those around us; when we ask Him about His plans for building His Kingdom in our little corner of Earth, we can know we will be a part of something bigger and more beautiful than we could ever have dreamed.
“Teach me to do Your will, For You are my God; Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground.” – Psalm 143:10
Each month, the Office of Volunteer Ministries at the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists sends out a devotional to their long-term volunteers. This was written by Andrea Keele and sent Aug. 19, 2019.