What does your house look like and how well has it been built? Can it stand up to earthquakes, storms and other weather phenomenon that might come against it? I truly hope it can. We all know what happened as a result of the Christchurch earthquake in 2011? Catastrophe and devastation everywhere you look. Even today, five years on, there are still entire areas of Christchurch lying in ruin. Why am I talking about a house you may ask? Well, I was looking at a photograph that a friend of mine took of a wave breaking over some rocks (it’s the same photograph at the top of this Blog) and immediately God placed on my heart the parable of the two builders, one wise and one foolish.
We read this parable in Matthew 7:24-29, “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”
It’s in this portion of scripture that Jesus compares and contrasts two builders; and He emphasises the incredible importance of building upon a strong foundation. Now Jesus wasn’t only talking to the architects, carpenters and builders of our world when He shared this parable. He was talking to ordinary people. He wasn’t speaking about house design, plans, décor, carpentry or building; but rather He was speaking about building our lives on a solid, indestructible foundation.
I think Jesus was saying that it doesn’t matter how much you know about the Will of God, it’s rather about how much you do the Will of God. You can attend church, bible studies and even even have a degree in theology; but if you don’t live out obedience to Jesus, if you don’t put into practice all that knowledge you have attained, you are like that unwise builder. Sooner or later the storms will come; those waves will crash against you and only then will the true state of your foundation show. If you have built on sand, then everything is going to disintergrate and collapse. But if you have built on the rock, you will stand firm and will keep standing right on into eternity.
The first thing in this story that caught my attention, was that both builders heard the word of God. They were both familiar with the bible and the teachings of Jesus. They both knew the truth. You might even say they were both professing Christians who went to church, life group, bible study and all the training available to them; but only one of them heard the truth and actually put it into practice. Let’s not be like those Jesus talks about in verses 21-23 of this same chapter: “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
The second thing we notice in this story is that troubles will definitely come against your “house”. Each of us will face a number of storms; the waves of trouble will beat against our houses. However, only if we have built on a solid, sure foundation will we stand. In my short 48 years on earth, I have faced the storms of sickness, failure, loss and financial difficulty; and at times have thought my ‘house’ was going down. But somehow I find myself standing. You see it’s only in these storms and in crisis that our true foundation is revealed. What are you building your life on, the Rock of Jesus or the sand of your own cleverness and knowledge?
The third thing you notice in this story, is the rock upon which we build. When you are building a house you have to dig until you hit the bedrock, and only then can you lay the foundations of the house upon that solid bedrock. We need to be digging down into Jesus. We need to be developing our friendship and relationship with Him so that in the midst of storms and waves we can hear His voice clearly and can respond obediently to Him.
And finally, you notice that faithful obedience is the key to your life standing firm in the midst of storms. This scripture reminds us that we not only hear the truth but that we need to obey it and live it out so that we can stand, and keep standing, no matter what comes against us. Don’t be like the foolish builder who builds upon the sand and when the storm comes he is swept away. The choice is really so easy for us. Follow Jesus and do whatever He calls you to do; then you will be like a wise builder whose house stands no matter what storms come against it.