Did you ever sing the children’s song about the wise man and the foolish man and their housebuilding techniques? It was always a lot of fun with movement and laughter. I was reading the parable this morning and it made me think (as intended ;))
Those people who are listening to Me, those people who hear what I say and live according to My teachings—you are like a wise man who built his house on a rock, on a firm foundation. 25 When storms hit, rain pounded down and waters rose, levies broke and winds beat all the walls of that house. But the house did not fall because it was built upon rock. 26 Those of you who are listening and do not hear—you are like a fool who builds a house on sand. 27 When a storm comes to his house, what will happen? The rain will fall, the waters will rise, the wind will blow, and his house will collapse with a great crash.
I expect you’ve seen houses being built. I am always amazed by the small size of some foundations when a three bedroom house is sold as being built there, but that’s another blog. We have an extension being built at church and the process of preparing the foundations seems to have taken half of the scheduled time for the whole building. It was a long and involved process. Before they even began digging they surveyed the land and calculated all sorts of things I have no awareness of. It’s not just a matter of finding a patch of smooth land and slapping together some bricks and mortar or wood and plasterboards.
The people Jesus was speaking to knew about building houses, there might have been builders who specialised in the construction of houses but, I suspect everyone knew about finding the right spot, about the importance of having good ground underneath. Otherwise, this parable would have made no sense. Jesus talked about things that were real; His examples were plucked from the daily life of those around Him.
So no doubt there had been people who found a nice spot on or near a beach and decided to build there. They’d collect the materials and maybe start to dig down because they aren’t stupid but the ground would be too soft and then maybe they’d look up and see the blue water, feel the hot sun, smell the salty air and decide it didn’t really matter cos this was a good place and what could possibly go wrong? Then when the inevitable storms came ‘crash bang’ down came the structure. Then the majority would be glad that they had taken the time to find ground that would not shift, land that had a good rocky base and although digging down into it would cause some sweat and maybe even blisters in the end they knew that their house would stand through anything the weather threw at it. It might not have the best view but it was secure.
I might not be building a physical house but I am building my life. Jesus knows that building on Him can be hard work, can cause sweat and blisters but He says in the end it’s worth it to have a firm foundation that won’t be shaken. I know sweat and blisters don’t sound very attractive but I have another couple of verses to end with.
20 Now may the God of peace, who brought the great Shepherd of the sheep, our Lord Jesus, back from the dead through the blood of the new everlasting covenant, 21 perfect you in every good work as you work God’s will. May God do in you only those things that are pleasing in His sight through Jesus the Anointed, our Liberating King, to whom we give glory always and forever. Amen.
Does that sound like we are working alone? Does that sound like this is all on us to build and maintain? Sweat and blisters alongside the One who built the Universe (and me) doesn’t sound that bad because along the way He’s going to provide me with clean water and green pasture with healing and restoration and, if I read it right He’s even the one doing the real work.