The storms are coming
We hear of natural disasters all the time - complete with winds, rains, and the raging waters of tides overwhelming land. In those places where such devastation occurs, we often see structures which appeared okay on the outside being totally destroyed by the floods which came or the winds which blew with gale force. What gave the appearance of being "built well" may not have been "planned" well, nor "maintained" well! There is a difference between erecting a structure and then erecting one which will withstand the forces which come against it!
Everybody who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise builder who built a house on bedrock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the wind blew and beat against that house. It didn’t fall because it was firmly set on bedrock. But everybody who hears these words of mine and doesn’t put them into practice will be like a fool who built a house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the wind blew and beat against that house. It fell and was completely destroyed. (Matthew 7:24-27 CEB)
As Jesus spoke with the disciples (his followers) those many years ago, he gave us all some insight into how we "build" in our lives which we will do well to consider. First and foremost, we can count on storms coming - it is not something we can avoid in life. We cannot find a place on this earth where we can escape the ups and downs of the weather - nor can we find a place in this world where we can totally avoid the good and the bad in life which comes as a matter of being part of this human race. If we cannot avoid the storms, then we had better look at what Jesus said about being prepared for them!
- The foundation is what matters. As we go through life, it doesn't matter how well we "decorate" our lives with this talent or that skill. It matters what "foundation" we create in our lives. In terms of foundations, it is more than the "materials" used for the foundation, but also the placement of that foundation into something which will remain strong "underneath" that foundation. This is what Jesus refers to as "bedrock". Two foundations are contrasted - one is sand, the other is bedrock. We can erect a structure upon both, but one will erode away under the pressures of wind and water, while the other will resist these pressures because it has an "anchor". In life, we need the right "anchor" upon which we build - not just the right tools and materials with which to build.
- The materials must be put to use. I have a home improvement store (one of those huge ones) about one mile from the house. I love to take time to go up and down the aisles exploring the various things they have there. If I could have my "run of the store" without worrying about paying for the stuff, I'd be in "heaven on earth"! From the little fasteners which seemingly disappear as they are put into the wood, or the drill bit adapter which creates that perfect angle by which you get that screw in at a perfect 45 degree angle, I could create and create and create! As long as those tools and materials remain at the local home improvement store, they are just dreams to me. The same is true of the materials God gives us - unless we actually take them into our possession and put them to use in our lives, they are simply dreams we hold. We have been given great resources, but if we don't put into practice the Word of God, it is like a great pile of resources which goes untapped.
- The storms will come, but we don't have to be obsessed with them. I don't make a living staring at those radar screens like the meteorologists do at our local TV stations. Their mission in life is to give us as much "early warning" of inclement weather as possible so we stay safe and are prepared for what will come. If I spent all my life watching the horizon for what may come next, I would miss out on what is right in front of me today. The wise builder doesn't build "in the moment", reinforcing the structure for whatever "weather" is predicted for the day. He prepares for what will come by building for all manner of weather. He doesn't build in a flood-plane because he knows waters might come in such force so as to wash away his hard work. He doesn't forget to nail down the shingles because he knows the winds will come and leave him exposed if he does. He doesn't neglect sealing the cracks and crevices because he knows the heat and cold will seek a way inside, making life hard to bear if he does. He prepares in advance of what comes. I think we can take a lesson here - not to be so concerned about what will come, but to allow the right attention to the details of what gets "worked into" our lives up front so that we are prepared when the issues arise which come against us like gale force winds and raging currents. Just sayin!