“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” -Matthew 7:24-27 NIV
The Pantheon in Rome, a tall domed colonnade religious structure, stands just as it did well over 2,000 years ago. People today tour it without worry of it crumbling down on them or caving in under them. This would not be possible had its foundation not been right.
Remember “The Three Little Pigs” fairytale? After leaving home to pursue their lives and protect themselves from the big bad world depicted by the big bad wolf, each of them sets out to build their homes. One little pig built his house of straw because it was the easiest thing to do. The second little pig built his house of wood because it seemed to be a stronger substance than straw. The third little pig built his house of brick because it was more durable than either straw or wood. Then the inevitable troubles of the world came tumbling into their lives — the big bad wolf turned down each of their streets. Presenting his challenge, the wolf “huffed and puffed” and blew down the houses that were built of straw and wood, but he could not blow down the house built of brick.
What is depicted in this fairytale, and true of the Pantheon, is also true about our lives. Strength, stability and security of a person’s life are predicated upon the durability of the foundation that life is built upon.
What kind of foundation is your house made of? Sand and water, cinderblocks without mortar, different materials that don’t fit together, miscellaneous rocks thrown on a pile? Or poured concrete and top-of-the-line, steel-reinforced concrete blocks with mortar?
Jesus, possibly demonstrating his knowledge of building techniques learned from his father who was a carpenter, uses the imagery of building to picture the life choices one makes: We either hear, listen and follow God’s way, or we hear, refuse and go our own way.
The picture is not of two persons who deliberately select foundations, but contrasts how they chose to construct it. One who carefully chooses how it is constructed and properly prepares is depicted as wise. One who carelessly chooses how it is constructed and haphazardly prepares is depicted as foolish.
Each of us fall into one of these two categories. The wise are those who care enough about themselves and their future wanting a firm foundation for their life. The foolish are those who care only about how fine they look regardless of how flakey their life is. Which would you be identified with and called: wise or unwise? There is no in-between.
What foundation are you building your life on? The sayings of Christ, or secular opinion and the wishy-washy worldly values of our culture; calling Jesus “Lord” with your lips, but not living a life for him?
What truly makes a dependable foundation for life? The words of Jesus Christ are a dependable foundation, and obedience to him determines the quality of our foundation. Any foundation apart from Christ and his word will not stand.
Rev. Johnson A. Beaven III is pastor of Citadel of Faith Church of God in Christ. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or via Twitter @jbeaven.