After eighteen months of prayer interspersed with intermittent action, the work was about to begin in earnest. As we wandered around the building on the Saturday after exchanging contracts, it was evident that there was a lot of work to be done. The building, although structurally sound, had been empty for a long time and was desperately in need of redecoration and renovation.

The building has two main halls: one to be used for church meetings, one (with a stage) to be used for community work. This community hall has been used for sports activities for many years and is ideal for the youth work and Mums and Toddlers group run by the church. The two main halls are linked by a corridor off which are the toilets, a small room to be used as a vestry, a larger room to be used for Sunday School work and a kitchen (the most modern room of all, with kitchen units that were relatively new.) All of these rooms would need attention, some more than others.

And so the task of organising the work began. With God’s impeccable timing, the school half-term holidays were about to begin, and a number of church members who work in local schools suddenly had five days available to work! With enthusiasm running high, it was time to start work!

Work has been around for a very long time and building projects feature frequently in the Bible. From the ill-fated Tower of Babel (resulting in the plethora of languages which infuriate so many school pupils today!) to the slave labour of Egypt, the Bible has a lot to say about work. Not surprisingly, attention was focussed on the temple projects in the Bible: Solomon’s temple, the destruction of that temple as a result of Israel’s sin, the rebuilding of the temple and of Jerusalem after the exile. What could we learn from these examples of work?

The book of Haggai, short, succinct and very relevant, suddenly blazed with life. In the middle of that book comes the simple verse “Be strong, all you people of the land,’ declares the LORD, ‘and work. For I am with you,’ declares the LORD Almighty” (Haggai 2:4).

God’s presence makes all the difference. We would need much physical strength and much hard work to see the plans we had come to fruition. But having come this far, having crossed our own Red Sea in actually becoming the owners of this building against all expectations and all practical hopes, we knew that God is with us.

Colossians 3:17 says “whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” The work was about to start!