The Wise and Foolish Builders
Gene Groner of Independence, MO, USA
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. -Matthew 7:24-27
My wife and I moved into our house nearly eight years ago, after searching and looking at dozens of houses in eastern Jackson County, Missouri. We had looked for months at numerous houses and found that many of them had foundation issues. They weren’t exactly built on sand, but they had breaks and cracks in the foundation which resulted in water damage over the years. Some of them had uneven basement floors and other foundation issues beyond normal settling.
Fortunately, we found a home that was just perfect for us, and it was built on a strong and solid foundation that was carefully constructed of good stone and concrete. We are glad we did. Other people we know have had ongoing foundation problems, and some have had to install additional sump pumps in the basements to prevent more flooding. We are very grateful that our foundation remains firm and strong and dry, thanks to God.
The story Jesus told in Matthew 7:24-27 is more about people than basements, but the principle is the same. Jesus wants us to be firmly grounded in God’s word, not just hearing the word but understanding and putting it into practice. That’s our strong and firm foundation. Reading the scriptures every day is the best way to know and understand God’s word. We learn to live God’s word through daily prayer, meditation, and practice. We look to Jesus for our example. He knew and quoted the scriptures, spent time alone praying to God, and went about doing good, helping and blessing everyone he met. As we follow his example and keep his commandments, we will have his Holy Spirit to be with us, blessing us with the grace to be kind and loving, serving others, just like Jesus.
“Attention is the beginning of devotion” (Mary Oliver).
Engaging in the practice of holy attention allows us to suspend our inner conversations and agendas and give reverent and receptive focus to a specific person or portion of God’s creation. Regarding another as an unrepeatable miracle whose life journey is unique and sacred brings awareness to and affirmation of God’s presence in all creation. We do this in the spirit of Christ who saw into the deep hearts of people and recognized their true identities as God’s beloved. Spend time this day in prayerful attention to God’s creation, to the people in your life, and to your daily surroundings.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.