Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Rock Good, Sand Bad

Matthew 7:24 - 27, NRSV, “ ‘Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!’

I have heard this since I was a child. I know that there must be a song that goes with it, as every good bible illustration. I just can’t remember it, but I can’t remember what I did yesterday, either. The impression of a house built on a rock is one of goodness and wisdom. The impression of a house on sand is bad and stupid. That was about the gist of my understanding of a house on any geological surface growing up. Now I have my own home.

I see that driving force of this passage is hearing and doing. Hearing and doing. That is who I want to be. I have been other types of Christian. I have been a hearing Christian and I have been a doing Christian, separately. I have pretended to hear and pretended to do. I have been reluctant to do anything. I have been a dabbler. I have tried to combine my “life theology” (completely worthless) with the accommodation of the church. Suffice to say, that I am no longer content with being any of these. I am certain that Christ is over that period of my life, also.

Oswald Chambers warns us against the implications of this. It sounds simple, but it can actually be very uncomfortable to be an actual believer, one who hears the word and does what it says. Once this begins, others will compete for your affections. They feel neglected because they do not own your attention. Those who desire to control and manipulate will become unsettled and lash out against you. Why? Because you dared to upset their balancing act. You dared to follow your Savior after hearing His truth. You inconvenienced others in your life. Now they beat on your house.

Now that I have my own home, I believe in the real estate phrase, “location, location, location”. I have only one option, as I see it. Building our home on Christ is the least that I can do for my home, my husband and our future. When the rain falls and the floods come, the winds blows and the angry mob beats on our home, I know where we have built it. I can understand that the storms rage outside our front door, but it is not inside our home. What tries to beat down the doors and windows of your home, will try to come inside. This is when I call on my Savior to separate the real issues from the storms. Storms are loud and huffy, bombastic and rude.

Anything that you need to address can be let in the front door, don’t let it sneak in the back.

Of course, the other option, for your home building venture, is sand. These are the things that I know of sand and water. I remember being a little girl on the beach. We would swim/wade in the water and come out to the outrageous applause of my mother waiting for us. Sand is tricky, though. It creeps through your toes as the tide goes out. It slides under your feet like glass. This made many of the exalted exits from the ocean end in a face plant. Water has, also, melted the majority of architectural wonders that I have ever made from beach sand. Lastly, every little girl knows that sand has an uncanny ability to get stuck in the bottom of your swimsuit, doubling your weight as you escape from the ensuing waves. Ladies, it can make you weigh more. Sand is horrible.

None of these examples are flattering to the description of the sandy house. This house is one that is guaranteed to fall…hard. Wow, I don’t want to be in that house. I see the survivors everywhere I go, though. I hear her voice speaking to her children…or not speaking to them. I hear the words of antagonism and fear that she speaks to her husband. There are cruel words spoken in a house of sand that would not be said to any other person in the world, even a stranger. This house will fall and it will fall hard. When the storms blow…and we know that they will, these houses cannot resist the beating of the wind, that path of destruction that winds its way through relationships, marking its inhabitants. These will fall and they will fall hard.

I want my home to be different. I want for it to be unlike anything that I have known or seen. I want for it to be a refuge from storms, knowing that I am resting in Christ. I will want for nothing because I am assured and safe. I trust that He will never let my home go because it is embedded in His rock. A storm to me means a chance to pull out the candles in case the lights go out, maybe have a marshmallow roast.

Storms are guaranteed; where we build our house is our choice.

Lord, thank you for giving us your rock to build on. Let us weather the storms of this life, faithfully. Give us discernment in the midst of this life and let us honor you in how we handle all situations.

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