Two men each built themselves a house. One built his house on solid bed-rock, the other the shifting sand. Each house seemed fine for a while. But when the rained rained, and the floods rose, and the wind howled, the first house stood firm, but the other collapsed. It all depended on the foundation.
Jesus says that the house built on the bed-rock is like a life built on the foundation of hearing his words and doing them. The house built on the sand is like a life built on a foundation of hearing his words and not doing them. Both lives may look similar from the outside. But sooner or later, storms will come: the storms of life, also the day of judgement. Some lives will stand firm; others will collapse. It all depends on the foundation.
What kind of lives are we building: hearing and obeying, or hearing and ignoring?
- Two athletes went to their coach for fitness advice: one put the training programme into practice and the other put his feet up. When the time came for the race, who won it, and who didn’t even finish it?
- Two pianists were given the same piece of music to learn. One went home and practiced every day, and the other . When the time came for them to give a concert, which one played Rachmaninov well and which one played ‘chopsticks’ badly?
- Two walkers studied the map before they set off into the hills. One followed the map, and the other wandered off in his own direction. When evening came and darkness fell, which one was tucking into supper at the youth hostel and which one was shivering on windy gap?
- Two DIYists read the instructions for a piece of furniture. One followed the instructions and the other decided to build it her own way. When their husbands came home, which one said, “That looks like a nice wardrobe,” and which one commented, “That looks like a nice pile of firewood”?
- Two patients went to their doctor and were prescribed treatment. One remembered to take the treatment but the other forgot to. When they went back to the doctor, which one was found to be getting better and which one was getting worser?
All of us here are hearing the words of Jesus. We hear them in our church services, we read them in our Bibles. What are we doing about them? Are we taking them to heart; are we putting them into practice; are we obeying them? Or does what Jesus say make no real difference to us at all?
If we are hearing and doing our Master’s instructions, we are building our loves on bed-rock, and when the storms of life come, we may be battered and shaken, but we will survive them. What is more, we will survive the time of testing on the last day when Jesus comes in glory.
If we are hearing but ignoring our Master’s instructions, we are building our lives on shifting sand, and when the rain pours, and the floods rise, and the gale howls, sooner or later our lives will collapse.