The Importance of Rebar

This is a re-post of a note I published June 09, 2014 on Facebook. I am transferring my notes from Facebook into my Float the River blog.

I’ve been doing something lately I never dreamed I would be doing…working construction. More specifically doing concrete. Just typing that makes me laugh. I don’t think I have “done” ANY concrete since I have been on the job…and rightly so! I literally know nothing about “doing concrete” and what I do has little to do with actually laying concrete…but that is a topic for another time.

I AM learning about it though. One of the most important facets of concrete that I have learned is how important rebar is to the whole process (in case you don’t know, rebar is the licorice looking metal bars you see at construction sites). I know I am over-simplifying it but essentially the concrete itself has little to do with the strength of footings, foundations, and walls. For the most part, the strength comes from what can’t be seen. It is the rebar within that provides the actual strength and the amount of “bar” that is required for a strong foundation or footings for a building is almost mind-boggling. I have also noticed that it takes much more time, labor, and effort in getting ready for the concrete than it does in actually pouring and finishing it. Beyond that, a builder can’t just haphazardly throw a few bars of steel in and expect the building to stand strong. It takes real wisdom and understanding to know how much rebar, what size, what shape, and what layout to really build a strong building. It is certainly not for the lazy or inexperienced!

While doing the grunt work that I am qualified to do and watching the pros do their work something became a bit clearer in my mind. Watching all of this brought to mind Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:16 where he prayed for his readers to be “strengthened in the inner man”. But what does that strength look like? We have all seen buildings weather storms and earthquakes without falling apart. What is the inner strength that believers are to have?

I believe Peter ties the bar together for us in 2nd Peter 1:3-8. It begins with the work of Christ’s power through His promises that transforms a sinner by grace. Notice verse 5 though where Peter writes, “…applying all diligence in your faith, supply…” It requires the toil and labor that is our own diligence, our own effort to be diligently expended in the response faith to what has been given us by Christ. This is where we find the rebar of our lives.

He continues, “…in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.” As I have been seeing the construction process unfold before me I realized these qualities are the rebar of my daily life. These qualities aren’t just a grocery list to check off. Notice how Peter writes. Each one is connected to what precedes and what follows. Just as builders can’t be content laying a few pieces of rebar leaving out others, my inner strength is incumbent on ALL of them giving strength to each other. In other words, my greatest strength is only as strong as my weakest area.

The finished hardscape of a house or building can have a beautiful appearance bringing admiration from onlookers. Yet its real quality can’t be seen by what is on the outside as it is what is on the inside that makes a building endure the affects of use, time, and even catastrophe. It can look strong, look complete, and look like it was done right but you can’t fake strength…strength that endures. It takes real effort to be strong. Laziness in effort and aptitude can only produce that which is weak.

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