Yesterday, Norma Jean and I visited the Wesley Chapel Church and heard my former summer intern Justin Lewis deliver a wonderful sermon on “The Two Builders.”
Typically when I think of a builder, I contrast it with a wrecker. Some people build up. Others tear down. Some edify. Others ruin. Some encourage. Others discourage.
However, Justin made the observation that “we’re all builders. Everyone is building something.”
His text was the parable Jesus told as He concluded His magnificent Mountain Message in Matthew 7:24-27.
“Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.
“But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
Jesus the Teacher knew the words of the wise man, “When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more, But the righteous has an everlasting foundation. (Prov 10:25). But Jesus the Carpenter knew about building. Probably both from experience and from observation.
The houses in Jesus’ story symbolize our lives. Justin is right. “Everyone is building a life.” There are many books, seminars, and Ted Talks on how to build a great life. But there is only one Book that offers advice on how to build a life that pleases God and will endure the storms of life.
Everyone is Building their Life on Something. What are your values? Your morals? Your principles? On what foundation are you building? What is the basis of your life?
Some say it makes no difference. Everyone has the right to choose. Yet, Jesus tells us there are only two kinds of builders. The wise. And the foolish.
The wise build their lives on the foundation of Jesus Christ. He is the rock. The support. The authority for our lives to be truly successful in this world and eternally secure in the next world.
Foolish builders base their lives on the shifting sands of human philosophy, personal opinions, and political correctness. They are builders of a life that is unstable. Unsettled. And uncertain. It is doomed to destruction.
The storms in Jesus’ parable illustrate things that endanger our Lives. Storms play no favorites. Rain fell on the houses of both men. The streams rose. The floods came. The winds blew. Regardless of the kind of builder you are, storms will occur in your life.
You may experience literal storms like hurricanes, tornadoes, or typhoons. There are storms of physical illness and fleshly infirmities. You may suffer the storm of financial reverses. Family problems. Or even church squabbles. There is the storm of Satan’s assaults on our souls through temptation. And we will all face the storm of death.
The storms reveal our level of preparation. When storms come it shows whether or not we have been building on the rock. It exposes our emotional stability, spiritual steadiness, and mental strength. Or the lack thereof. The storms reveal whether or not we’ve been cutting corners in building of our lives. Have we been building on the rock? Or on the sand? Have we been taking short cuts?
How do you prepare for the storms of life? Both Jesus and Justin pointed out the need to hear the Word. Like the Hebrew Christians, it’s possible for our “ears to become dull of hearing.” We must really listen.
But hearing is not enough, we must heed them. Do them. Put them into practice. Internalize them. And obey them.
Bible commentator William Barclay was right. “Only a house whose foundations are firm can withstand the storm; and only a life whose foundations are sure can stand the test.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman