Build It Slow

Build It Slow and Surely.

Building something important takes time. It’s wise to build it slow and surely.

My wife and I were watching a movie about Saint Francis of Assisi (Brother Sun, Sister Moon) recently, and really enjoyed some of the music included in the sound track. The film is a visually stunning and poetic meditation on the life and work of Francesco Bernardone, who was born in Assisi, Italy, in 1181. Of particular interest was the song, “Little Church“. The first line of that song says: “If you want your dream to be, build it slow and surely.

The music resonated with me, and reminded me of a phrase I’ve often told our staff at Five More Talents:Go slower to go faster” and it’s counterintuitive corollary “Go slower to go further”.

A dream to build it slow. The ruins of an old stone church building, in a field of beautiful wildflowers. This digital art by Doug Vos depicts the old church that Saint Francis found, and rebuilt slow and surely, day by day, and stone by stone.
A Little Church – Digital art by Doug Vos, depicting the ruins of an old stone church building, in a field of beautiful wildflowers. Similar to the old ruins of an abandoned church building that Saint Francis of Assisi found, and rebuilt slow and surely, day by day, stone by stone.

Lyrics for the song, “Little Church”

If you want your dream to be, build it slow and surely.
Small beginnings, greater ends, heartfelt work grows purely.
If you want to live life free, take your time, go slowly.
Do few things but do them well, simple joys are holy.
Day by day, stone by stone, build your secret slowly.
Day by day, you’ll grow too, you’ll know heaven’s glory.
If you want your dream to be, build it slow and surely.
Small beginnings, greater ends, heartfelt work grows purely.
If you want to live life free, take your time go slowly.

Build It Slow Like Francis Of Assisi

Saint Francis of Assisi - Digital art by Doug Vos
Saint Francis of Assisi – digital art by Doug Vos

Saint Francis grew up in a wealthy family. As a young man, he enjoyed a life of luxury and pleasure. He frequented the local taverns, enjoying wine, women, and song. The culture of his day greatly valued luxurious clothing, success in business, and winning at war. (Similar to our day?)

The film depicts him riding off to war — in great pomp with his companions. However, he was captured and imprisoned for a year. The movie depicts Francis stumbling back to his village, very ill and barely able to walk. As he slowly recovers on his bed, in his delirium, he remembers the days when he lived for parties and carnal pleasures.

Francis had a spiritual conversion that resulted in new priorities. He was greatly inspired by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. He devoted his life to helping the poor and sick, living simply, and preaching the good news of the Kingdom of God. Saint Francis believed that all people are created in the image of God, and he called on his followers to love their enemies and to care for the poor and the marginalized.

At first his family and friends thought he was crazy. Rather than chugging beer at the local pub and singing bawdy ballads with his buddies, Francis was more interested in listening to the birds sing, and caring for lepers — and soon his friends began to join him.

The video clip (below) captures two scenes from the movie. In the first scene, early in his ministry, Francis is rebuilding the ruins of an abandoned church building, stone by stone, in the bleak mid-winter. Later in his life and ministry, the old church building is mostly rebuilt, and we see the joyful faces of many people gathering for worship, while singing the Little Church song with enthusiasm.

In reality, people would not have been singing a song by Donovan, but probably one of the Psalms or ancient hymns. However, Franco Zeffirelli (the film maker) masterfully represents the magnetic power of Saint Francis life, building up the Kingdom of God, healing one broken life at a time.

A short video clip featuring the song, “Little Church“, from the film Brother Sun, Sister Moon

Slow Turtles and Wise Carpenters

Aesop’s fable about the tortoise and the hare reminds us that “the race is not always to the swift”. Or said another way, slow and steady wins the race”. This proverb means that it’s better to be consistent and persistent than to be quick and impulsive.

As the wise, old, three-fingered carpenter said: “Measure twice, and cut once”.

In general, it’s a good idea to go slowly and carefully when doing something important. This will help you to avoid mistakes, produce better results, be more efficient, reduce stress, and enjoy the process. It may seem counterintuitive, but going slowly can actually be more efficient in the long run. This is because you’re less likely to have to redo your work if you make a mistake. Rushing often leads to rework, which can waste time and resources.

Related Links and Resources

Related Scripture References

  • Psalm 127:1a – Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. (ESV)
  • Daniel 2:44 – … the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever. (ESV)
  • Daniel 7:14 – And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed. (ESV)
  • Hebrews 12:28 – Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe. (ESV)
  • 1 Peter 2:5a – … you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood. (ESV)

Published on 30-May-2023

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