True or false?
That disputed statement has been kicked around like a football by both sides of the political spectrum. However, applying it to my life at this late chronological season, I'm quick to admit that I'm not self made.
Whenever I view the rolling of credits at the conclusion of a movie or a TV documentary I'm amazed at how many people and how many diverse skills and professions and talents and technical and artistic abilities it took to “build” that entertaining or informative project. For some epic production the screen roll of names and their specialties goes on for many minutes.
No, I didn't build my own life. God is the Master Builder who chose to give me life and breath in the first place, and has sustained me for nearly eight decades. I have tried living according to His blueprint but with admitted deviations and detours since God thought it was good to endow His human children with the gift of free will. Unfortunately, I confess that at times I have sung with Sinatra, “I did it my way!” Thank God, He has always drawn me back to the high road from the low road of my self-will.
I didn't build my ethnicity, my gender, my parentage and place of birth, nor my DNA. God built that. He ordained the moment of history when I should live my life and decreed the global events of the earth that would affect me. The Lord brought into my life from my infancy to my present age exactly the people and circumstances which built the human and spiritual infrastructure which makes me who I am. I still don't look exactly like the picture on the top of the box of puzzle pieces since I'm still a work in progress. Each person who touched my life was a puzzle piece God provided to build my spiritual life and character.
I want to roll some credits.
For the record, and because it is the will of God in Christ Jesus that we should “give thanks in all things,” I want to give credit where credit is due. My parents' decision to have me baptized as an infant built the first spiritual framework for my life marking me as a child of God. My gentle, immigrant grandmother from Europe who didn't speak any English was my first loving and patient caregiver in her late years while both my parents worked. Grandmother built the earliest spiritual graces into my toddler life through her prayers and godly example. I grew up in a safe neighborhood with playmates whose parents all knew one another. My classmates in school helped build into me social and academic skills. I credit an English teacher who built into me a love of reading and encouraged my potential for writing.
My teen years centered around my church, youth group activities, and Christian summer camps. As a result I made a life commitment to Jesus Christ. I credit faithful Sunday School teachers, youth leaders, and the preaching of my pastor for building my strong biblical foundation. My closest friends were Christians which helped build my character. Professors in a Christian college solidified my sense of call to mission work overseas and prepared me for my career. My marriage to my husband set my direction to China and ministry among Chinese students on university campuses which continues to this day.
Were I to roll the credits with the actual names of the many people around the world who invested themselves into my life, as I invested myself into theirs, the scrolling would go on endlessly. God knows who they are since He selected each one. And I too haven't forgotten the face and life of each one who added another brick to the edifice of my life. Even after I thought my faith-structure was complete, God surprised me. He brought MORE of His people to build still MORE understanding of my faith in me and to point me to THE LAND OF MORE. There I have found MORE of the fulness of faith from the deepest roots of Christian history. All of which continues to give my life the finishing touch I could never have envisioned.
“You didn't build that!” That's absolutely true.
I didn't build my own life on earth; many other people built into it. Neither did I build the life that is prepared for me “from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (2 Corinthians 5:1). God is providing that through Jesus Christ, not of my own works.
God is my Architect, Contractor, Provider of materials and Supervisor of workmen whom He chose to help build my life-house. He is the Cornerstone and Author and Finisher of the building that is me!