40 Days of Building on Faith: In Order to Go Up, We Must Go Down

During this Lent season we encourage you to reflect on the blessings in your life and how you can serve others.


By Natosha Reid Rice

bell towerIn 1173, work began on a freestanding bell tower in the city of Pisa, Italy. After the second story was completed, builders realized that the tower’s foundation, at only 3 meters deep, was not adequate and was built on weak, unstable subsoil, causing the tower to lean to one side. Construction was halted in 1178 to allow the soil to settle beneath the structure and was not resumed until 1272, almost a century later! During construction, many techniques were used to try to correct and compensate for the tilt, but nothing really worked.

The builders were so intent and focused on getting the building up that they did not spend the time and resources to go down and build a solid foundation. In the familiar parable found in Matthew 7:24-27, Jesus gave clear instructions about constructing a proper foundation.

Perhaps it is too late to create an adequate support for the bell tower in Pisa, but we can always practice disciplines that draw us closer to God and deepen and strengthen our foundations of faith. Lent is the perfect occasion to focus on prayer, Bible study, selflessness and service, and to reflect on the ministry of Habitat for Humanity. As an organization, are we digging deep enough for a firm foundation? We cannot merely set our sights on a grand strategic plan; we must also dig deep both as an organization and as individuals. We must dig deep in our own Habitat spaces.

• Digging deep requires us to go beyond pretense and appearance to authenticity. We must live out our faith.

• Digging deep requires us to go beyond our level of comfort and dive into something more meaningful.

• Digging deep requires us to go beyond ourselves and to serve God first. Our diligence now in drawing closer to God and drawing strength from His mighty power will keep us strong when the rains come, the streams rise and the winds blow. Building a firm foundation will enable us to reach higher and stretch further as we seek to obey God’s commands.

Dear Lord, we thank You for the opportunity to be a part of this wonderful Habitat ministry. As we work to make Your love and hope a reality for many, help us to “dig deep” in our faith and reach beyond ourselves to provide safe spaces for others to dwell and prosper. During this Lenten season, may we reflect upon and be energized by the transforming power of Your life and witness in the world. Please help each of us to remain rooted and established in Your love so that we are not swayed or discouraged by daily challenges, but press on to accomplish the great work You have called us to do. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Natosha Reid Rice is associate general counsel of Real Estate and Finance for Habitat for Humanity International and is based in Atlanta.