Keeping The Faith

Keeping The Faith


Some Assembly Required

posted by ronniemcbrayer

Do you know the three most frightening words in the English language? “Some assembly required.” You order something online; a toy or a bicycle for your children. Or you go to a big box store to get a grill or piece of patio furniture.

When UPS brings it to your door or you find the item you’re looking for in the store, it’s not ready to go like you saw in the online catalog or the advertisement in Sunday’s paper. “Some assembly required,” the tag on the box says.

So, you lug this box the size of a queen-sized mattress out to the garage and open it. There are buckets of screws, connectors, rods and unidentifiable small pieces of plastic that you will never use no matter what the directions say. And for the next six weeks you attempt to put this thing together.

The worst case for me was construction of the dreaded children’s play set. When I was growing up our swing sets were just tubes of lightweight aluminum. If you were swinging too high the front side of the entire swing set would rise off the ground a solid foot. Now, we have these play sets made of concrete-anchored-treated-timbers, and screws the length of baseball bats. Assembly requires a civil engineer and a degree from MIT.

When I bought one of these behemoths for my children I was in the back yard with a slide rule and a skill saw for the entire summer. And I lost all credibility with my neighbors. There was no way they were going to that pastor’s church, not with the raging four-letter obscenities flying out of my mouth. When we moved, to my children’s chagrin, I left the play set there; not so much as a gift to the family that bought our house. No way was I going to disassemble it and attempt to put it back together. Once was more than enough.

Some assembly required: This is true of the products you buy, your relationships, the children you are raising, and the person you are becoming. We are all works in progress, even as this relates to our faith. The Apostle Paul said: “Continue to work out your salvation.” We have been given this wonderful gift of grace, salvation and grace. We have come to understand God’s love and have answered a call to a life of faith. This gift is like getting a bicycle in a box or a swing set bound by straps and smothered in Styrofoam peanuts. It’s like possessing a new piece of patio furniture but it’s in a dozen pieces, the materials scattered across the yard.

You’ve got to work it out. You’ve got to put it all together. You can’t ride the bike if it stays in the box. You can’t play on the swing set if it remains disassembled. You can’t enjoy your furniture if you don’t connect the pieces. And faith will not be what it is intended to be – what God wants it to be in your life – if you don’t work it out, if you don’t open the box and put it together. Maybe faith has become such a burden for some of us because we’re lugging around on our backs the box full of assorted spiritual materials rather than putting it all together.

So much informs and shapes our spirituality: The reading of Scripture, prayer and fasting, meditation and retreat, good works done in the name of Christ, service of the poor, worship, periods of contemplation and reflection, times of doubt and frustration. These all come together to make us who we are. Somehow these things become transformational in our lives. Somehow these pieces fit together to form something useful, something valuable, something that looks a lot like faith.

So pop the bands off the box that’s waiting for you in the garage. Put on your work gloves and break out the tool chest. Call your neighbor to lend a hand. Before you know it, all the pieces might just fall into place.



Advertisement
Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Comments are closed.



Previous Posts

A Journey to Paradise
Jesus never described the gospel as an escape hatch, whereby we can exchange his current world for a spiritual retreat far away. Never. Rather, his gospel was: “God’s kingdom is here! It is now! Heaven has come to earth!” So when Jesus invited his first disciples to “Follow me,” he was inv

posted 5:41:57am Mar. 11, 2013 | read full post »

Back to the Original
It all began in 1980 when the executives of the one of the largest companies in the world, secretly commissioned a scheme named “Project Kansas.” The commission had the most daunting task any group of business people could be given: Re-engineer a product, re-package it, and successfully market i

posted 5:34:32am Mar. 07, 2013 | read full post »

God Said It...And That Unsettles It
“God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.” This slogan is one of today’s all too common bumper sticker defenses of the Bible. The phrase is sometimes amended to read, “God said it…and that settles it,” to reflect that personal belief is inconsequential in the matter. Proponents of

posted 5:15:18am Mar. 04, 2013 | read full post »

"Servanthood:" A Definition
The word “servanthood” is not recognized by my computer’s word processing program. Whenever I type the word it shows up with little red underline marks and a half-dozen other suggested words to put in its place. I don’t think we recognize “servanthood” either. It’s certainly not visibl

posted 6:06:50am Feb. 28, 2013 | read full post »

Hard Grace
It was extremely important for the church of my youth to prove that every single miracle in the Bible be proven as an historical and scientific fact. A literal seven day creation, the plagues on Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, Joshua making the sun stand still, the Hebrew children surviving the f

posted 6:01:14am Feb. 23, 2013 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.