Jump Start # 2244
Matthew 7:26 “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand.”
The wise man and the foolish man, one of the first children’s songs we learned in VBS and Bible classes. The little ones love to express the crashing of the foolish man’s house. It went “Splat,” they say. But this is more than a song for little ones, this is how the best sermon ever preached ended. So many topics and so many themes run through the sermon on the mount. Righteousness seems to be the central thread that ties it all together.
Righteous towards God. Righteous towards others. Righteous from the inside out. This is something that was missing among the Pharisees. Power and position had taken the place of the purpose of their faith. They bent the rules to their liking. They threw the book at those who they didn’t like. Religion was fun, but it wasn’t useful and it wasn’t real to them.
And, along comes the words of Jesus. From the opening beatitudes to the concluding golden rule, power, prestige, position and popularity are chased out of the Lord’s concept of true faith. And, now having established these principles of his spiritual kingdom, Jesus puts before his audience, what are you going to do with this?
The foolish man heard. The foolish man wasn’t changed by these words. The foolish man continued on his foolish path. Doom was heading his way. Storms were coming and he was oblivious to it all. The word “foolish” means lacking sense. It comes from the word moron, which we know is not a nice word.
Some things we ought to see here:
The foolish man was stubborn. He was going to build upon the sand, even though he had been warned by Jesus. He wasn’t taking Jesus’ words seriously. Now, why would a person do that? Why would one build on the sand and not lay a solid foundation? It’s easier, faster, and cheaper to build upon the sand. The view might be better closer to the water. Maybe there hadn’t been any storms in a long time so the false sense of security. But, this isn’t really about building permits, location and real estate. It’s about our hearts. Why is it that we don’t do what Jesus says? Too much trouble, and too hard to change. Everything is ok for now. Later on, we’ll make some adjustments. We’re doing better than most folks. On and on, the foolish reason. And, on and on they continue to live ignoring the words of Jesus.
Jesus doesn’t force us to obey Him. He shows us. He reveals consequences if we don’t. He shows the blessings if we do, but then He leaves it up to us. He doesn’t plead, beg, or try to buy our faithfulness. He doesn’t count to three. He lays it out there and it’s up to us. Very plain. Very simple.
For a while, it looks like the foolish man was successful. The storms didn’t come while the lumber was being delivered. It came after his house was built upon the sand. It was actually completed. And, for a while, the selfish life of ignoring Jesus seems to be successful. Nothing bad has happened, people say. I’ve got money. I do what I want. I answer to no one. I’m not tied down by rules. I don’t follow and old book. Life is a blast. And, it’s hard to convince sand lovers that they need to heed the words of Jesus. They live one day at a time in the sunshine of life and all is well. This may be our family. This may be co-workers. You invite them to come with you to worship and they turn you down every time. They are having too much fun to give up a Sunday to “go to church.” They see themselves as pretty good people and it’ll all be fine in the end, they are convinced. You and I see trouble coming. We see a marriage that is built around a lifestyle or good looks and we see that crashing someday. We see lives that are filled with indulgences and we see that catching up with them someday. We see trouble with their kids. We see trouble with their finances. The beach front looks good, but it’s shallow, empty and a storm will destroy it.
Storms come. They always do. They come whether we are ready or not. They come hard and fast. They come unannounced. A health problem. Financial problems. Trouble with the kids. A death. A crisis. A problem. And, now, that pretty little life, built upon the sand, doesn’t know what to do. There is nothing holding it up. There is no real belief. Life is good as long as it is good. But there isn’t much value in dark storm clouds. Rain and wind ruins things. And, this life built upon the sand, turns to anyone that seems to have a decent answer for them. Opinions are many. Advice is cheap. And, this shallow foundation turns to all kinds of unfounded ideas just to hold on and get by. With the storms about to hit, the sand lover, races through different churches, looking for an answer. They go to all kinds of therapy and counselors. They find comfort in the bottle and in pills. They get angry at the world and feel cheated, never realizing it was their choice to ignore the words of Jesus. They chose to build on the sand. And, now that sand won’t do them any good. That sand is causing them to fall apart. As the storms hit, their lives begin to fall apart. Rather than finding comfort in God, they blame God. Rather than pulling together, they pull apart. It’s abandon ship and every man for himself. Fingers are pointed at others and there is enough blame for everyone to have plenty. And, the saddest part of all of this, after the storm passes, no lessons will be learned. As soon as they can clean the debris, they will begin rebuilding, right on the sand again. A new marriage. A new home. A new job. New friends. But the same ole’ problem, ignoring the words of Jesus.
This will continue until the final storm comes and their lives end. Then it will be too late. Thrown into eternity and ignored by God because they ignored Him during their lives. They get what they always wanted, life without God. There are no blessings. There are no prayers heard. There is no hope and there is no future. This is where the foolish man’s life ends.
It takes time to listen and do what Jesus says. Building upon the rock is slow. There is a construction crew putting up a new building near where I live. They spent a long time digging and doing foundation work. More than a month went by with just dirt, mud and some concrete. But now, things are happening. Everyday there is noticeable changes. They took the time to get the foundation set first. And, that’s what we must do. The foundation holds up everything else. All decisions, all choices, all plans are connected to our foundation. Jesus isn’t a Sunday thing for us. He is our life. Every thought, every word, every attitude, every decision is supported by this foundation of ours. We are what we are because of the foundation. It doesn’t matter if it’s a Sunday, or a Friday. We will be the same because of our foundation. It doesn’t matter whether we are at home, work, or on vacation. We will be the same because of our foundation. And, yes, storms will come. But we won’t fall apart. We won’t give up on Jesus. We won’t blame God. We will continue to worship. We will continue to carry on. We will continue to hold to God’s unchanging hands. The storms may be intense, but because of our foundation upon the rock, we’ll get through it. We won’t collapse.
Doing what Jesus said. That’s what this comes down to. He preached. The audience listened. Now what? It’s that “now what,” that we face. What we do with the “now what,” determines if we are looking at rocks or sand.
Jesus spoke. We heard. Now, what?