The Man Who Built the Lord’s House

The first thing folks notice when they step through our front door are the big, oak cabinets that span the far wall of our dining room. And when they sit to share a meal with us, and we pull out dishes—maybe even a pie— from those cupboards, they notice we call them “Frank’s Cabinets.”

I only remember Frank as he was an old man— small, quiet, wearing a toolbelt and kneeling in some corner to drill or measure or chisel. He worked in thick jeans and a thin, white V-neck.

Frank built those wall-to-wall cabinets, yes, and he built the floor-to-ceiling bookcases that frame Papa Larry’s fireplace. He carved the arch above our kitchen table and built the picnic table on our porch. He’d take his measurements quietly, then go home to his workshop. Weeks later, he’d bring back the big pieces, and the boys would help him wedge them into place, heaving and scraping. But the pieces were never too big. Frank would stand back and look at his work.

“Uh oh,” he’d grunt, “Looks like a perfect fit.”

Our tractor shed was the last thing Frank built for us before he died. By then, he was teaching the boys what to cut and nail and lock in place. His hands shook, and Joel would lift things for him. It took Dad, Brian, Joel, Papa Jay, and our neighbor Tom to raise the shed’s walls and beams, but Frank was the master builder, always pointing with a crooked finger just how things should go, and always doing it quietly, with trembling lips.

Frank came to mind last week because I read about the man who built the Lord’s house— Bezalel. It says in Exodus the Lord called him by name and “filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs” (Ex. 25:31-32). He took the gold, silver, bronze, wood, and embroidery the Israelites contributed and “made the veil” and “made the ark of acacia wood” and “made the vessels of pure gold… with which to pour drink offerings” (Ex. 36:35, 37:1, 16).

Bezalel built the King’s house— the place where all God’s glory came to rest among his people— and he did it with the hands and skills the King had given him. For four chapters, we watch him work, carve, stitch, and engrave, and then he’s gone from the story— eclipsed by the glory that filled the place he’d made.

He built the Lord’s house, but he probably didn’t live to cross the Jordan into the home the Lord had prepared for him.

Frank requested the hymn “Wayfaring Stranger” be played at his funeral, and I think it’s because he knew it wouldn’t be long before he’d be “goin’ over Jordan, just goin’ over home.” While he waited, he used his hands and skills the way Bezalel did. He built cabinets and bookcases and our tractor shed and the picnic table we eat at in summer, so that his handiwork makes my family’s dwelling place what it is. And really, it’s a place where the Spirit of God makes his home.


“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are … members of the household of God. …In {Christ Jesus} you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” ~ Ephesians 2:19, 22


6 thoughts on “The Man Who Built the Lord’s House

  1. This sketch just brought tears to my eyes. Frank lovingly labored over every single thing he did. He made a beautifully crafted cabinet/shelf for our garage, almost too pretty to put in there, for my husband’s golf equipment. Such skill and precision with each measurement. The desk, cabinets and drawers I pulled out and worked on for 17 plus years in my office were made by his hands. Oh, How the Master guided the hands and heart of that dear man. And as I think of him, as I often do, it was always with a Mountain Dew in his hand and a content smile on his face! Thank you Bethany for sharing this sweet remembrance of a friend to all and one who used every minute to honor his Saviour!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes! i know our home wasn’t the only one he had a hand in building and bringing beauty to. and i’d forgotten about the mountain dew, but of course!

      i’m really glad you shared this, mindi, thank you.

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  2. What sweet memories! As I read this the memories of Frank flooded my mind! He was so skilled yet so humble! I am forever grateful to the Lord for his friendship and his handiwork that is featured all around us from the homes of those he cared for to the church we worship in weekly! Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Bethany, a friend just sent this to me. I’m Frank’s sister. I was able to see this quite God loving spirit all my life. Thank you for bringing these memories back. He and I were very close though 10 years apart in age. He saved my life by giving me one of his kidneys 40 years ago. I ‘m sure he has a special place in heaven.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s so very good to meet you, Phyllis! Thank you so much for reaching out! I was blessed to read your memories of Frank and would love to ask you more about his life. Would you be willing to share your email with me?

      Like

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