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  Sunday, August 20, 2017


The Perfect House

July 2006

For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. –St. Paul

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. –The Psalmist

I go to prepare a place for you. –Jesus

I confess I went to Mexico to build my third house under the influence of Ty Pennington. You know, the spiky-haired live wire who cheers on the design team of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. Every week they take some forlorn fixer-upper and replace it with a 5,000 foot McMansion, generating shock and awe in a humble deserving family. At the beginning of each show Ty and the design team vow to build the perfect home for the family.

When we went to the colonia in Anapra, Mexico, I wanted to build the perfect house. A house just like Ty’s, just 4,550 feet smaller. The build could not have gone more perfectly. We had a perfect site, perfect weather, perfect building materials, a perfect bathroom, a God’s-own-hand picked perfect team. For three days I secretly felt that we would craft the perfect house.

You see the first two houses I helped to build were less than perfect. The families who received them were very gracious and grateful, to be sure. But even an untrained eye could see that they were the work of amateurs. The children has bounced on the window trim boards and split them. The soffits weren’t square. The stucco varied in thickness, etc. You know that guy who inspects a house before you buy it? He’d have a heyday with us.

But this house was different, I thought. When it was finished—a day ahead of schedule—we stood back and marveled. Everyone was so pleased, except me. Three imperfections—arching hand swipes across the stucco—was all I could see. So much for the perfect house.

For some time I searched for the reason why. Accusing everyone, especially the younger members of our group. I pushed the limits of Christian fellowship and charity. Finally, I sat back and asked myself why this mattered so much to me. Why did the imperfection in the house bother me so? And it became a deep prayer begging to be answered.

So God answered. The house is you. This side of heaven you will never be perfect. With me, your earthly labor is not in vain. So keep up the good work, but know it will always be flawed. And be of good cheer. I go to prepare a place for you, a building from God; a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. God’s perfect house.

And the rest of the building team forgave me after I repented.

—Jim

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