The Wise & Foolish Builders | Tracie Dawson
Scripture: Matthew 7:24-29 (NLT)
“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand.
When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, for he taught with real authority—quite unlike their teachers of religious law.
Personally, I love this passage as it contrasts wisdom and foolishness with incredible clarity. Here we come to the conclusion of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, one of the most powerful passages containing the teachings of the Kingdom He had come to establish. He concluded these radical principals by urging the listeners to be wise and put His teaching into practice.
Listeners could not escape the imagery evoked through His teaching. The relatable task of building a house, and all that it embodied (safety, security, identity, hope) resonates with readers even today.
What might have been surprising to the listeners of Jesus’ day, however, was the type of storm described in the story. In that area of Judea, storms of this magnitude were infrequent, but notice Jesus’ wording: “Though the rain comes….”
He did not say “if,” “perhaps,” or “possibly” rain would come. He spoke in definitive terminology: “When the rains and floods come…”
Both the wise and the foolish men had built homes. And both would experience storms.
What set them apart was their foundation.
Jesus explained that the wise man built his home on solid rock. The word in the Greek is “petra”– a massive rock.
Later, in Matthew 16:16-18, Jesus asked His disciples who they believed He was. Simon (Peter) made a profound confession: “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God. Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you…for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And….on this rock I will build my church…’”
This revelation, this confession, is the petra – the massive rock in which the wise man makes his foundation. Faith in Christ, the Son of the Living God, and obedience to Him sets his home securely on truth that impenetrable and immovable.
I often find myself surprised (still) by the storms of life. It is almost as if I believe that I should be exempt or that faith in Christ guarantees me protection from all the struggles that are a part of life. That is dangerous thinking though. I must accept and expect that there will be challenges in living a life of faith.
We are all building houses. For many, it is what we rely on for security, identity, and hope. What gives it strength to endure storms is its foundation. Is my house founded on my self and my ability to control circumstances? Is it founded on my finances? Is it founded on what people think of me? These are shifting sands and when a really big storm comes, results in total loss. The house falls with a mighty crash.
But when my foundation is in Him and His ability to control my circumstances, in His ability to provide for my needs, and driven by what He thinks of me, my foundation is a massive rock. Solid. Impenetrable. Unmovable. And though the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against the house, it won’t collapse. It remains.
You are creator of all things and in control of all things. I confess that I often try to build my life, my house, on me, and the things I can control. That is foolish of me. I often forget that anything derived from my own strength and capacity are doomed to fail me eventually.
Help me to listen to your word and obey it no matter how radical or how it goes against the norms of culture today.
It is in Christ that I trust for my security against the storms of life, for my identity as your child, and hope for a future that is based on your goodness and grace.
Thank you for your Son Jesus and for the foundation He gives me so that I can weather the storms that will inevitably come my way.
In Christ’s name I pray,