My dad had an amazing gift. He bought a four-room farmhouse on several acres in 1950 and turned it into a sprawling complex of buildings over the years. He could conceive a building in his mind, write it down on paper, figure out what it took to construct it, and build it with his bare hands. Then he maintained each structure meticulously.
There are a few people reading this who could probably do the same thing, but you must understand, those genes skipped my generation. I cannot do what he did. But I did it alongside him as his helper for many years, and he taught me some things about building. Foundations, reference points, load capacities, material selection—all of these are crucial to building something that will last.
In Peter’s first letter we learn about another great builder. Jesus had told Peter that He would build a church against which the very gates of hell would not prevail. A majestic, eternal building, not made of materials that will perish, but of “living stones… built into a spiritual house.” God is using us as the construction materials for His great building.
And masterfully, Peter builds his own literary building as he writes to the saints of God scattered throughout Palestine and beyond. First, he lays a foundation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. God has given us a new birth having bought us with the precious blood of Jesus and made us his own people.
He raises the walls on that foundation by saying that we have a living hope which gives us the strength to overcome the trials and suffering that are inherent in this world. He sets the roof trusses by assuring us that God has given us an inheritance that never ends.
God has done the things that we could never have done through the work of His Son. But then Peter says that there is a part that we must do. We should finish out this house—the painting, the landscaping, the interior decorating—by the way that we live our lives.
Because of what God has done, and through the power that He gives us, we should live holy lives, loving one another deeply from the heart. We should live the kind of lives that others will see and, in turn, glorify God. We should live free, but not evil. We should respect God and our Christian brothers, and love those who are outside the faith. We should honor those in positions of earthly authority. And we should extend this holy living into our families and workplaces.
I am now living in the blessing of the inheritance my dad passed down to me. I feel a responsibility to honor his life work by stewarding the inheritance well and perpetuating the things that were important to him.
This is part of what it means to live the kingdom life: to be grateful for what God has done for us, to live in his blessing and to carry on his vision to reach others with this good news. They, too, can inherit this kingdom and be living stones in this great house. We can play a part in continuing the Father’s building project. What a great honor.