In Matthew 7:24-29, we find Jesus telling the parable of the two builders. The wise builder built his house on the rock while the foolish builder built his house upon the sand. When the storms came, the house built on the rock stood firm against the winds and rain. It had a solid foundation. But the house built on the sand collapsed in ruin as its shifting foundation was washed away.
This was a parable. Jesus was not really making a point about where we should build our houses, but using that as an illustration of an important spiritual truth. He was picturing two different lifestyles, represented by the two houses. It seems though as our world becomes more and more complex, our choices are easily confused. I think this parable is illustrated by the plight of the house above.
Below is from an article from learnnc.org.
At the time of construction, this area looked like other beachfront properties, and seemed to pose no abnormally high risk of flooding. The history of the inlet location and its proximity to this lot should have been a warning. The massive rearrangement of sand caused by the winds, waves, and storm surge of Hurricanes Bonnie and Fran resulted in a dramatic reversal of the inlet’s migration, and it came back to the spot it had occupied years earlier.
Unfortunately, that spot was now occupied by this house. Sand dredged to deepen and stabilize the newly positioned inlet was pumped under and around the house in an attempt to replace lost sand. But the steep eroded face of the new fill shows that this was not a lasting solution. At the time of this writing, the restoration efforts have ceased and the house is condemned. How long it will last is not clear.
Dirk Frankenberg, "Evidence of rising sea level: Coastal erosion and plant community changes" LEARN North Carolina, 2000. Available at http://www.learnnc.org/lp/editions/cede_sealevel/366
Notice in the article above, the progression:
- At the time of construction it looked like a safe place to build.
- The shifting of sand should have been a warning
- The storms came
- The solution to the problem was to pump more sand underneath
- The new sand eroded away and restoration ceased
- The house is now condemned
We build our lives and our children’s lives many times on the eroding sands of success as shaped by our culture. As we build our lives on academic success, athletic achievements, financial stability, meaningful relationships, rising careers, and the pursuit of to some degree of happiness we must proceed with caution.
My son’s friend from 4th grade planned to be a pitcher, he pitched in many tournaments, teams and through high school, when before the State Championship Season , he had to have Tommy John surgery. He received a college scholarship, transferred schools and during the summer playing in a league, he had to have a second Tommy John Surgery. He is kid of strong faith, though his dream was gone, he has a teaching degree and is planning on coaching. The shifting sands ruined his dream but his faith gave birth to a new vision, based on His faith that he has a purpose to serve a higher purpose. This week one of the children in our children’s ministry broke her arm, she is sad that she cannot play soccer and is praying the cast will come off so she can enjoy swimming this summer. This lesson was a teachable moment for this young lady as we shared a greater purpose.
I wonder though how many times we are like the people trying to save the house by pouring more sand into the foundation. We think if only I had another degree, more money, a bigger house, a better spouse, a different job. I wonder if at times we model and teach the same things to our children. Many of our values and priorities are caught and not taught.
How do we make changes in our priorities and choices in a world with so many options? We are to seek to be excellent in all we do and to strive to be best in all situations, but we need to know that in the midst of the rising sand we need to be standing on the rock. The storms will still come, failures will still happen, life may take a change, relationships may fall apart, but with your life built on Christ there is hope. Perhaps it is as simple as making church, spiritual development and the study of God’s Word a priority. We need to not pour more sand in to save a condemned house but move to a house built on the rock.
Director of Children's Ministries