by Anita Miles
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:”
For anyone who has been around church for any amount of time, you have memories of your time in your young Sunday school class or Booster band. Or maybe your kids sing and do this… Children sing as they beat their little fists together up and down and chant…
“The wise man built his house upon the rock,
The wise man built his house upon the rock,
The wise man built his house upon the rock,
And the rains came tumbling down…”
After the rains came and the floods rose, the wise man’s house stood firm! And then they proceed to sing and chant about the fate of the man who builds on the sand.
Since I was a child, every time we would sing that last line, I’ve always imagined the images of beaches after hurricanes ripped through. They always seem to have litter and debris of houses strewn about them - with sometimes almost no sign of where they ever stood!
That’s not just a song that we sang in Sunday school or Children’s church. That was a parable that Jesus gave. Seems elementary enough that anyone would hear the song or the story and think - “well duh!” But it’s not quite that easy…
My husband and I have been in the throes of a building project since February of this year, and let me tell you…I’ve learned a thing or two about that wisdom! I have learned that it doesn’t matter what the project is, if the basis or foundation of what you’re building or constructing isn’t laid out correctly, it leads to the headache of all headaches! Because getting the foundation of a project right takes time, skill, sometimes talent, and diligent observation - there are many instances that it’s easier to do the bare minimum and hope it all shakes out alright. We were probably more diligent and insistent than some because we’ve lived in spec houses and this was our forever custom home and we wanted what we wanted and we had our eyes on every square foot. And we wanted it done right! I won’t bore you with the details of our project, but so far we’ve been happy with our decisions.
Maybe that is the reason I can’t get this theme out of my head. I’ve been so focused on having a solid foundation. Not really about literal buildings - per se - but in life. I think it’s easy to underestimate how crucial it is to have an unmovable foundation until something important is crumbling…
I could be the only one, but I’ve found myself recently shaking my head and feeling confused multiple times lately at how shaky the foundation is on some things that shouldn’t be moving. All you have to do is listen to a 2 minute segment of the news and find yourself completely baffled at how we got to the point that the topics making the news are ok. I’m not going to be political here, but let me give you a couple of personal examples of why we have to keep our eyes and ears open. I’ve had a couple conversations recently that have really caused me to double down on making sure we get this foundation thing right!
A few weeks ago, a friend and I were having a conversation about my 6 year old son’s love of dinosaurs. She was saying her grandson has the same fascination. I have no idea why I even said it, but my next comment was… "I just have to monitor what books and information he has access to to learn about them!" She looked puzzled and said, “why do you say that? What’s bad about books about dinosaurs?” I explained that it’s not that they’re bad necessarily - but a lot of them don’t share our world view. I told her that I believed in Creation and that dinosaurs were not some isolated existence that “was” before God spoke light, life, and breath into the world billions and billions of years ago. I told her that when he’s so absorbed in his learning, I want what he’s learning to be congruent with what we’re spending our other energy teaching him. Her reply was, “hmmm…you know, I never thought about that!” She’s a brilliant human and a good friend, and was converted several years ago. It was not a point of argument, but it was an eye opener for me to see how easily it would be - without good Godly instruction - to go along absent minded with ideas that are not based on Biblical foundations. I’m really not picking on dinosaur books, but it’s just one way that little minds can be led to believe that our core Christian belief of Creation can be distorted and eventually lead to other damaging theories and belief systems.
If I don’t teach my children the importance of Creation, and that they were created in the very image of God, it’s easier for them to begin to feel that the value of life is not as great. These small perceptions lead to bigger cracks in their foundational belief system once they grow older. If the value of human life is degraded to a “blob that just became” it’s easy to see why one wouldn’t see the big deal about abortion. It would be easy to see why they feel it’s no big deal to destroy their bodily temple with the addictions and destructive behavior that plague our society. It’s a little easier to see why the value of human life is so insignificant that others feel like they can take a life or threaten one at any time it’s convenient or offers them some benefit.
In real time, we are seeing the heart of a nation crumble around us and the lives of people we care about are affected in sobering ways. We have to understand that little by little, the foundations are being corroded one crack at a time with ungodly world views.
About a week ago, I had another conversation with a completely unchurched associate who was struggling with panic and anxiety. His life is literally falling completely apart at the seams with situations he never imagined. With nervous laughs, his parting reply in all seriousness was, “Maybe in my next life I can come back as a cat, or a different animal, whose life isn’t full of pain!” I have literally cried over this statement because he truly meant it. What makes this so painful to absorb is that his life has no foundation on which he can fall back on and find hope in. All he sees and experiences is a downward spiral. I am not the only one reaching out to him to help save his life - in more ways than one. But he was never given a foundation. His ancestors had one and his family has denied him of that. He has built his entire life and world view on sand and as we speak. As a result, his house is collapsing around him.
Jesus knew the catastrophes caused by building on sinking and shifting sand. He knew it was so devastating that he felt it important enough to be one of the topics he touched on in his short ministry.
In the end, it would do us well to build our lives on the Solid Rock of Christ. The houses of people’s lives are shattering all around us. They’re built on shifting sand and they just can’t keep up with the driving rains and swirling winds of this world.
So my encouragement for us today is this...just keep building. Build on Truth. Build on Scripture. Even on the days it seems to be against the tide of culture - put another block on that foundation. Keep it strong. Let’s teach our children the truth of God’s word. It’s the only foundation that will stand strong!
And no matter how pretty the houses look out there on the sand - that beauty only lasts until the next big rain! I don’t want the last sentence of our lives to end with - “and the foolish man’s house went SPLAT!”