Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏹️

Der Nachtwächter from a German word spelling book, 1799

Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.
Psalms 127:1

This psalm speaks of purpose. The words 'house' and 'city' likely being metaphors for the abstract, human structures we build in the world: relationship, family, community, business. Without a sense of purpose, a "why" for the work we will quickly be lost, our structures unstable. For many, faith in God is that purpose, for others it may be a sense of doing good in (and for) the earth, for a particular social group or political movement, or even for one's neighbourhood, city, state or country. Humans require purpose. It is one of the nine essential needs described by the human givens system.1 Without it we are out of balance. Creating human structures solely for profit, fame, ego, control, success or other self-glorifying reasons puts us on shaky ground. This is what Jesus alluded to when he said, No man can serve two masters,2 and the writer of 1 Timothy makes crystal clear with his warning, For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.1

So many of our structures today, from businesses to family lack grounding, lack meaning, lack purpose. We are spiritual nomads, drifting with the wind. This loss of ground is the cause of many ills, much despair and great emotional suffering. God—however we understand the idea of God—is our grounding force, our emotional and spiritual centre. In our pursuit of knowledge, profit and self we have strayed far from this centre. When I sense this, I metaphorically (and sometimes even actually) turn around and walk the other way.

1 "Meaning and purpose, which come from being stretched in what we do and think." from What are the human 'givens'?
2 Matthew 6:24, Luke 16:13
3 1 Timothy 6:10