You know the scene from “Field of Dreams.” The main character, Kevin Costner, is trying to get his father, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, and the rest of the baseball greats to show up in the middle of an Iowa corn field. Nothing seems to work until this one guy tells him “If you build it, they will come.”
This famous quote from the movie “Field of Dreams” reminds me of a scene in Matthew 16. Jesus has got the disciples together and He asks them the question “Who do people say that I am?” The disciples reply “John the Baptist, Elijah, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” Jesus then asks them “Who do you say I am?” Without hesitation, Peter replies “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus then says this in Matthew 16:18 “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.”
I think that we as believers today fall so many times into the “Field of Dreams” mindset thinking that if we build it, they will come. We take on the responsibility ourselves of trying to build the church forgetting what Jesus said in Matthew 16 that He would build His church. Our responsibility is to make disciples, baptize them, and teach them (See Matthew 28:19-20). Our responsibility is to preach the good news (See Mark 16:15). Our responsibility is to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins (See Luke 24:45-48). We have been sent just as Jesus was sent to seek and save that which is lost (See John 20:21).
Nowhere does Jesus say that it is our job to build His church. The reason for that is whatever something is built on that is what is going to sustain it. For example, the story of the two builders in Matthew 7:24-29. The wise builder built his house on the rock, and when the storm came, the house was still left standing. However, the foolish builder built his house on the sand, and when the storm came, it fell to the ground. We try to build the church on a good preacher, a good worship leader, a good student ministry, or a good kids program. All those things are good, but none of them will be able to withstand the storm and sustain the church. There is nowhere in Matthew 7 where it says one house experienced the storm and the other house didn’t. The storms of life and the storms of the enemy are inevitable. Both houses are going to experience storms, the only difference is what the house is built on. Who’s building the house?
We wonder why our church isn’t growing. We try to think about what we can do in order that we’ll see more people attend our church. We ponder what can we do different. We think what haven’t we tried yet. So many times we have our own plan, our own agenda, our own vision for the church. Solomon wrote in Proverbs 19:21 “Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Instead of asking God to bless our plans, why don’t we get involved with His purpose that is already blessed. We want God to get involved and bless our plans, but it is ultimately His plan and His purpose that will prevail. So instead of us trying to build the church with our plans, let’s let Jesus build His church according to His purpose. Because
If we build it…
- The people won’t come.
- We won’t be able to sustain it.
- Everything will fall apart.
But if Jesus builds it…
- The people will come.
- It will last.
- He will hold it all together.
So let us change our “Field of Dreams” mindset to the one that says “If Jesus builds it, they will come.”