As another new year arrives, I have been challenged to consider what I’ve started that still remains unfinished. Many of us like to build and we all have a few unfinished “projects” that we constantly tinker with probably more out of therapy or enjoyment than with an actual end in mind. Those are both necessary and healthy. But I am talking about another kind of construction project: what we are building into the lives of others – about how the next generation of leaders will be impacted because of our labor.

A couple of months ago, my wife bought a set of books on construction and craftsmanship written in the early 1900’s for our middle son who is great with his hands and has always been a builder. But as fascinating as their subject matter, it is the inscription pasted in the front of each book that captures our attention:

“When we build, let us think that we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work as our descendants will thank us for; and let us think as we lay stone on stone, that a time is to come when those stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, ‘See! This our father did for us’” ~John Ruskin.

While you may be adding onto your home, building a fire pit at your ranch or sanding down your latest project, I hope you will be moved by a century old inscription as if the ink was still wet to consider what you are building into the lives of others.

I have a feeling we all have some unfinished “building” projects. Sacred stones that still must be strategically stacked. Eternal truths that still must be carefully constructed into the coming generations. Think about the incredible impact you were meant to have on your children and grandchildren…your colleagues and friends – all to the glory of God.

So tell your story. Share your heart. Speak of God’s great love and faithfulness. Teach Truth and impart wisdom. This is your legacy, and it’s a living one. For we are “living stones” (1Peter 2:4-5) and each one of us must be careful how he builds upon the solid rock of Christ’s foundation (1Cor 3:10).

“But as for me, I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteousness a nd of Your salvation all day long; for I do not know the sum of them. I will come with the mighty deeds of the Lord GOD; I will make mention of Your righteousness, Yours alone. O God, You have taught me from my youth, and I still declare Your wondrous deeds. And even when I am old and gray, O God, do not forsake me, until I declare Your strength to this generation, your power to all who are to come” (Psalm 71:14-17).

© 2012 Tim McKenzie –

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