Homes need good foundations
There is nothing as central to our human experience as our homes.
Home is where we retreat to rest and recharge at the end of a day.
It’s where we prepare, suit up and set out to begin our days.
It’s where we come together to share life as roommates and family.
It’s where we open our world to welcome others into our lives.
Home gives us security and stability.
There aren’t many things as devastating as losing our home (there are some things, but not many.)
That’s why we for centuries have developed codes, classrooms and certifications to assure that that will never happen.
We invest massive amounts of time securing our homes.
In our parable this morning, Jesus is going to take us into this experience of home. He’s going to take us back to a time before codes and certifications, when would be home owners became home builders.
He is going to take us to a place where there is sand and water and the seasonal cycle of severe weather. In this parable we will see two builders, two homes, one storm, and two results.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”
Both houses begin with the received wisdom of the community, with warnings and exhortations about natural disasters and precautionary measures.
One house begins with the back-breaking work of digging. Deep digging. Digging to find a fixed layer of bedrock to build on. This builder has listened. He has received the wisdom, he is demonstrating his faith in that wisdom with the investment of sweat.
Next door is a man who knows better. He sees his neighbor and he feels for the poor schmuck wasting his time. All of this digging is unnecessary. An unnecessary cost. The sand can be compact. The sand can be leveled. The sand can hold up a structure.
This man, knowing better, saves his back and his sweat and immediately begins with the lifting of walls. He moves into the home of his dreams, he buys furniture, he brings the possessions accumulated throughout his life, unpacks all of his boxes – all in time to host the watch party of the year for opening weekend. He smiles while he looks out the window to see his neighbor just beginning to raise his walls.
The earth circles the sun, the sun warms the air, and the inevitable arrives. The inevitable which has been seen and experienced and known and forecast.The storm hits.
Rain rushes down from the sky, wind batters the windows and doors from all sides and worst of all the water surges from below.
At the end of the day one man’s house – his place of retreat and recharge and gathering – is now rubble in the sand. He turns to the solid, stable home next door for a place to retreat.
Homes need good foundations. What does this mean for us?
Here is the connection – your life, like your home, needs good foundations.
In this parable, I want you to hear the love and the concern of Jesus who sees your life, who sees the storms coming your way and desperately wants to see your life endure those storms. What does it take to have the kind of life that endures storms?
There’s one difference. It’s not listening to the words of Christ, though that is a huge step. The difference between the person with a pile of rubble and the one secure in their home is the response to the words of Christ. The one who endured is the one who did what Jesus said.
Do what you hear
- Because a life needs good foundations.
- Because wind and rain and flooding will come.
- Because faith does not exist without action.
If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.
Why don’t we do what we hear? Why does our knowledge so often exceed our practice?
- We are too familiar with the words of Scripture.
- We are too resistant to the words of Scripture.
- We are too comfortable in our present condition.
- We are too proud of our own interpretation
- We are too distracted from the words of Scripture.
So how do we overcome these tendencies to become men and women who do what we hear?
- Resolve to act. Make a firm decision of the will that you will engage with the Words of Christ with a readiness to act on what you read.
- Remember that Jesus acted for you because you didn’t. He knew the crowds would struggle to practice his teaching. He knew the failures that were coming. So he got busy digging and building his own foundations. Through his perfect obedience and his suffering on the cross, Jesus began work on a home for all of us to run to when our own works fall short.
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
Tom Brown is the planting pastor of Vintage Faith Church in Wichita. Tom and his wife, Mandy, have worked together in ministry for 18 years and have four children. More about Pastor Tom Brown