Keeping the Foundation Firm
Brenda Nail DeLauder
Walking into the family room, I noticed sunbeams were dancing on the rocking chair, which had belonged to my grandfather. While the sun moved across the caning of the chair, I stopped to run my hand over the back, admiring the workmanship of the interwoven strips of wood. Each piece was woven with precision in order to give strength to the chair. Many years ago, this chair’s foundation was firmly laid.
Earlier this spring our church celebrated its 40th anniversary. During the weeks prior to the event, the church was a busy beehive of activity. One fun thing we did was to cover the walls in our Fellowship Hall with sheets of paper where pictures, taken over the last forty years, were placed. I particularly enjoyed seeing the pictures showing the very beginning. Five acres of an old farm were purchased to build the church. The pictures show the building supplies arriving and various work day snapshots as the project began. We are blessed to still have some of the charter members involved and active which gives us an opportunity to say thank you. The very people who spent time on bended knee seeking God’s guidance, then working long into the nights toiling on the building and grounds, and holding numerous fundraising activities, made this a beautiful place to worship our Lord. The foundation was firmly laid.
The churches I grew up in, had charter members who would have done the same things, only they arrived to work by horse and buggy. The amounts of great physical labor they gave, along with powerful prayers, were no doubt key reasons the churches still stand today. Through the generations those congregations outgrew their buildings and they moved on to build larger worship centers. I remember when Mom’s church purchased property to build a new place, prayer meetings were held on the site by the members. The best possible foundation was firmly laid in those prayers, long before the concrete was poured.
In the old hymn, “How Firm a Foundation*” the first verse reads, “How firm a foundation ye saints of the Lord, is laid for your faith in His excellent Word! What more can He say than to you He has said, you who unto Jesus for refuge have fled?” When a group of people gathers to pray and seek the Lord’s guidance, then feel led to build a church, they truly must step out on faith. By doing so, they will find the ground firm even through difficulties, as long as their faith remains strong. As with our ancestors who built churches board by board, with sweat and tears, their determination and faith in God made the foundation firm, long before the physical work began.
To keep the woven cane of my rocker in good condition, I must treat the wood which requires a little elbow grease. Otherwise, it will become brittle and useless. The same thing can occur in our churches because without our working efforts, the foundations will crumble. Church buildings need a little elbow grease used on them in order to keep the structure in good shape. Our souls inside the church need to be exercised to keep a close walk with Christ. Each time we do so, our foundation strengthens!
Even with all the busy schedules we have in our lives, making time to be a good servant of our churches can do amazing things for all involved. Whether it is oiling hinges on the doors, helping with a church dinner, or holding a hand while praying with a brother or sister helps keep those foundations firm. What more can we do for God today?
*The Broadman Hymnal, 1940 edition, George Keith & Anne Steele
Brenda Nail DeLauder is a native of Henry County. Her heart remains in her hometown.