4-8-2018 Barn Raising


APRIL 8, 2018


The first house Connie and I bought together was a centennial farm located north of Jackson on Lansing Ave. It was built in the mid-1800s and had a deep history behind it. The original farm was 125 acres with frontage on the Grand River. We bought the house, barn, outbuildings and 5 acres and Connie’s brother bought the other 120 acres to farm. We possess a Rives Twp. history book that has a photo copy of a letter written by the early residents of our home explaining how the Native Indians would come up from the river and barter for hams.


What I remember clearest about the old barn was the construction. All the main timbers and studs were true sizes, each hand hewn (you could still see the axe cuts) and pegged together with wood pegs. For that old barn to hold together as long as it did was a labor of love. The construction took both personal investment and patience.


To build that barn took a whole crowd of men and women tirelessly working together to raise it. They had to select the right trees, harvest them, and remove the limbs. Someone would select the best limbs to fashion the pegs then cut and shape hundreds of pegs. They would then haul the logs to the work site where timbers were hewn by hand one at a time to the required size. For the timbers to hold, someone had to hand drill the holes for the pegs by hand with an old hand drill at just the right location. Raise the timbers into place and hammer the pegs into the holes to secure multiple timbers together.


One timber at a time… one peg at a time…repeated hundreds of times until finally the barn was completed. I wonder how many times they had to scrap ideas, recover from mistakes, try something to have it fail or just got frustrated and wanted to quit? The key to their success though, was in the many individuals making a personal investment and then working harmoniously so that what they built would last for generations to come. The similarities between raising that barn all those years ago and raising of a church for the next generation today are undeniable. Think about it, the similarities are actually uncanny.


God has gifted each believer with the exact gift needed for that believer to be part of His construction. I would call it “being a skilled tradesman for the Gospel”. But to use that gift requires commitment. Listen, not all of us have the same gift but every gift is important to the raising of God’s church. He asks only that we commit ourselves to Him, never be afraid to fail and seek ways to join Him in His work. Paul wrote…


1 Corinthians 3:9-10 (NASB)
9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.
10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it.


Some of us fashion the timbers and others the pegs. Both are important and vital because without that little tiny peg, the timbers would never hold together. Together we are called to build for generations to come.

Thank you for your faithfulness. Pastor Larry