Today: Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Wisdom: the wise man and the foolish man    (11/2/2014 )

Have you ever heard of those spectacular sandcastle competitions, where a whole team of people will work for several days on their entry? The world’s biggest sandcastle took 10 days and was almost 50 feet high. It seems such  shame that they don’t last; even though teams build higher on the beach, where the sand is dryer; even though they build low protective walls; the wind, rain and tide eventually take their toll... until there is no sign that the structure was ever there.

How many of us would choose to build a real house on sand? It seems obvious that you wouldn’t, and yet there are parts of the world where there’s simply a lot of sand, or the sand isn’t quite as obvious as on a beach. In these places, people would need to choose carefully.

Where Jesus lived, there were devastating annual floods. One day he told a story about two men who each built a house. One chose to build on the rock, and the other on the sand. The sand may have seemed an unremarkable choice, at first: there was plenty of it, so the man could choose a convenient spot—whereas finding a rock, and a large, level rock at that, probably took time and effort.

Then, the story says, the breeze started to pick up. As the wind rose, the first big, fat drops of rain began to fall. Then the heavens opened… water poured from the sky and the wind howled around the houses. Streams rose and the river swelled until it burst its banks, raging torrents of floodwater sweeping away everything in its path.

Everything, that is, except the house built on the rock. This house was built on solid foundations. It would take more than a storm to destroy it; the man who built it sheltered safely inside until the storm was over. Meanwhile, Jesus said that the house built on the sand ‘fell with a great crash’.

Jesus told these stories with a purpose. People listening would have instantly recognised the annual flooding of the River Jordan, and understood his point. But was he merely handing out helpful construction advice? No, of course not. He was speaking after one of his most famous talks, the Sermon on the Mount. He wanted to make sure people took on board what he had taught.

“Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock… But everyone who… does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.”

The point is that we can ignore who Jesus is. Or we can act like believers, but not actually build our lives on Jesus. We can build beautiful, sophisticated lives; become wealthy and successful; congratulate ourselves on our own cleverness. But when the storm comes, whether that’s a major difficulty in life or death itself, everything can be destroyed in an instant unless we’ve built our lives on the rock that is Christ.

Only God provides the kind life-saving shelter we all need. But we can only take advantage of that shelter if we’ve built our lives on a firm foundation. Is yours built on the rock—or on sand?

Pray: God, I understand that parts of my life are built on sand. They may look and feel great now, but they could be destroyed in an instant. These are the parts of my life that aren’t built on you. Will you help me to make better decisions in future? Amen.

Think about: Jesus doesn’t tell a story about a lucky man and an unlucky man, who just happened to build their houses on two different bases; he talks about wisdom and foolishness. One man was wiser—he thought carefully; planned more; took more time and trouble. Perhaps he laboured harder. He may even have been ridiculed for his choice. Jesus is making the point that wisdom involves the intellect, and can be the tough choice, but that it’s worth it in the end.

Challenge: Is there a part of your life that is vulnerable to a potential upheaval? Any of us could see our fortunes change or tragedy strike. If everything that you’ve carefully constructed for yourself was swept away, what would be left? Would there be nothing—or would you still be resting in the loving arms of God?

Return to archive list


Site map
Copyright © 2019 Church On the Net.