My kids love the sand. When they were younger, they spent hours building sandcastles. They smoothed over the perfect spot for the castle, then gathered wet sand near the edge of the ocean and hauled it back to the construction site. They pressed the sand into molds, turned them over and patted carefully so the tower or wall of the castle came out perfectly formed. They worked diligently to create their sandcastles. Sometimes they finished their project before the tide came in and sometimes they built the castles in a place the tide couldn’t reach. But eventually and always, the sandcastles were destroyed. Either by the ocean or the beach walkers.

Jesus told a story about building in the sand. It’s found in Matthew 7:24-27.

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

In this short parable, Jesus compared two types of hearers and two types of builders. Here’s a simple way to look at what he said:

The hearers who do what Jesus says = wise builder

The hearers who don’t do what Jesus says = foolish builder

According to the story, both the wise and the foolish hear the same words and both builders work to build their houses. The only difference is the foundation.

Jesus mentioned two foundations – rock and sand.

Do the words of Jesus = rock foundation = house stands

Don’t do the words of Jesus = sandy foundation = house falls

Jesus closed out the Sermon on the Mount with this story, but offered no editorial comment. He let the crowd sit with the image of the collapsed house. The crowd was amazed at His teaching, but Jesus wanted more than that for them.

Jesus started the same story in Luke 6:46-49 with these words:

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?”

Doing what Jesus says makes all the difference. It’s the difference between heart change and lip service, integrity and duplicity, a tender heart and a calloused one. It’s the difference between choosing the hard work of forgiveness and holding a grudge. It means we walk the walk, not just talk the talk, and we reflect His glory instead of seeking our own.

I’m learning to be a wise builder and I’m thankful God won’t leave me to do it alone.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.   Psalm 40:2

 

All the chisels I’ve dulled carving idols of stone
That have crumbled like sand beneath the waves
I’ve recklessly built all my dreams in the sand
Just to watch them wash away
Through another day, another trial, another chance to reconcile
To One who sees past all I see
Reaching out my weary hand, I pray that You’d understand
You’re the only One Who’s faithful to me
All the pennies I’ve wasted in my wishing well
I have thrown like stones to the sea
I have cast my lots, dropped my guard, searched aimlessly
For a faith to be faithful to me
Through another day, another trial, another chance to reconcile
To One Who sees past all I see
Reaching out my weary hand, I pray that You’d understand
You’re the only One Who’s faithful to me

Jennifer Knapp

 

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