Hi. I’m Ken Jones, and this is A Classic State of Mind, with a word about: Remodeling.
My dad is gone, now. He died a few years back, after living a long and useful life. But on days like Father’s Day, I often recall the day he remodeled our house. He’d submitted plans to the city, and permits had been issued and I know exactly when and how he started because I watched him. I helped him. I was there, and I still remember.
He began by handing me one end of his hundred-foot tape while he walked to the other side of the front of our house and handed the tape to my mom. Mom and I stretched that tape the entire width of our house, down low, on the foundation, while he walked to the very center and made a mark with a pencil.
Then he climbed upon the roof, too. Took a plumb line, a string with a pointed weight tied to the end, and he unwound the weight and let it swing toward the ground as he held the string against the house.
“Now, steady the string and don’t let it swing,” he said. “Tell me when the point of the weight is exactly on the mark I made on the foundation.”
I felt very important, as I got down on my knees so I could be sure of what I saw. I closed one eye, like I was sighting a gun.
“There,” I said. “I think that’s it. It’s right on the mark.”
“Good,” he said. And he made a mark by the string on top of the wall, right next to the roof. Then, together we took his chalk line and snapped a bright blue line down the front of our house.
It took five minutes to prepare, as I recall. Maybe ten. But what my dad did next totally shocked me. Slowly, precisely my dad actually cut the front wall of our house in half. In front of all our neighbors, who were now watching. I remember thinking, when you’re using a power saw, and you’re running it up the front of your house, “Oops!” is not a word you want to hear. You’ve got to be perfect.
By the end of that day, the entire front of our house was open, exposed to anyone who cared to take a look inside. By the end of the next day, the front of the house was about half enclosed, framing for the picture window, but no glass. When the sun set on the third day, a totally new front elevation had been completed. The new door was beautiful and looked like had always been there. I remember thinking my dad was an amazing carpenter.
Once in a while, Jesus, the Carpenter’s Son says, “It’s time to remodel. The house is a good one but it needs enlarging. It needs to grow.” From the moment He moved in, He understood my life. He had been measuring and planning, determined to make the house of my life — the house He calls home — more suitable for His purposes. The plumb line of heaven has etched a one-of-a-kind line that stretches taut and straight from Calvary to my heart.
Tearing out walls is dirty business. Remodeling makes a lot of noise. The violence of ripping off the old self and putting on the new is not quiet. Sometimes it wakes the whole neighborhood. Sometimes my family and friends must watch in disbelief, wondering what on earth is going on.
There are days when I feel exposed, like some house whose front wall has been sawn in half. I don’t like standing in the draft. It causes me to realize my insecurity and fear and uncertainty. The cold and damp of public exposure can make any life ache, like arthritis of the soul. But the Carpenter continues to patiently go about His work. Jesus, the Master Carpenter walks through every needy room, measuring and planning and shaping me. Life in the kingdom you might say is life in a construction zone. God’s at work. Don’t be surprised if the remodeling in your life seems to be making a little noise. It’s the Carpenter improving the neighborhood.