If every church planter was required to adopt a life verse, Psalm 127 would be a favorite. If you’ve hung around church for a while, you’ve no doubt heard this verse at some point.
“Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.” (Psalm 127:1)
But don’t let familiarity breed contempt. There’s amazing truth in this verse that should produce dependence and determination in all of us who long to see the church grow.
The dependence is easy to spot. The psalmist is clearly saying that if the Lord doesn’t work, our work is worthless. He’s the One who builds the house. He’s the One who watches over the city. It’s not us – our programs, methods, strategies and techniques – that build the church. It’s the sovereign will of God moving His agenda forward. Jesus teaches the same idea when He says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” (Jn 15:5) There’s dependence – apart from God, we can do nothing.
The determination is harder to spot but every bit as important. Psalm 127:1 also makes it clear that the Lord accomplishes His work through our work. No where in the psalm are we told to stop laboring. The point of the verse isn’t to get the builders to quit working. The point isn’t to get the watchmen out of the towers. In fact, the very opposite is true – keep building, stand your watch. Keep working. Belief in the sovereignty of God isn’t an excuse for laziness.
So, when I think about seeing Restoration City Church come to life, I know we are totally dependent on the grace of God and the faithfulness of Jesus to His promises. But I also know our team needs to work like crazy, sacrifice deeply and approach our task with fierce determination.
God uses completely determined and totally dependent churches to display His glory through His people to a watching world.