A Foolish Construction

A Foolish Construction

Today’s Scripture Selection: Genesis 11:1-4

“And the whole earth was of one language and one speech.  And it came to pass, as they journeyed form the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there.  And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly.  And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar.  And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”

Some see it only as the first sign of civilization – city life – long before there was something called “New York, New York.”

But, others have long seen in this story something far more ominous.

It is a tale of a people striving to build their own stairway to heaven.  It provides an image of a people who believe they can do anything.

In our own day (as in many, many days past) people take great pride in their accomplishments.  They love to, literally, “make us a name” for themselves.  And, too often, in the process – forget all about God.

Who we are – what we have been given – what we are able to accomplish with it – is a gift from God.  Thankfulness and a good dose of humility should be the marks of a servant people, dependent upon God.

I think we can, and should, have a “healthy” self-esteem.  I don’t believe the God who created us wants us to crawl in the dust.

Still, I think that when we believe – as individuals and as a people – that we can be like God (boasting about what wonderful creators we are in our own right) – we can quickly get into some very serious trouble.

So, I like the story of this once great tower – called Babel – that became synonymous with the need to be humble before God.

I try to accomplish something with my life.  I hope you do to.  But I hope and pray that I never fall prey to the temptation to build to my glory – instead of my God’s.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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