Talking with different friends over the last week about how life as we know it is changing so rapidly, one of Jesus’ parables came to mind. Do you remember in Matthew 7 how Jesus described two builders?
One of them, the wise man, as Jesus calls him, built his house upon a rock. Jesus likened these actions to someone who heard Jesus’ teachings and put them into practice – they didn’t just think that they were a good idea, they acted on them, making them a code of life to live by. Jesus had just been preaching the sermon on the mount, a message that would begin to turn the world upside down with its counter cultural and deeper meaning for life as a follower of Christ. The titles within his message include - The Beatitudes, Salt and Light, The Fulfilment of the Law, Love for Enemies, Giving to the Needy, Prayer, Do Not Worry, Judging Others and concluding with The Wise and Foolish Builders.
Why not go and read Matthew 5-7 and be amazed by some of the revolutionary teaching from Jesus that gave us a new way of approaching life with God and with one another. This was the rock that Jesus was calling us, like the wise man, to build our lives upon. Why? Because when the storms and trials of life rise up and swirl around us, we remain standing firm on the rock of Christ.
So what about the foolish man? What did he build his life upon? Sand. Sand that is moved along the shore with every wave, sand that we can pick up and watch slip through our fingers, never firm or solid but always drifting and changing.
If the rock on which we should stand is Christ and his word, what is the sand to us? Money, possessions, status, security, position, relationships, share prices, employment – all of these things may come and go but as Jesus said in Matthew 24:35 - Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
In these uncertain times, many things seem to be slipping through the world’s fingers but the Rock of Christ on which we stand cannot and will not be moved. As everything around them changes, the people of the world need certainty and hope. Just as the foolish man no doubt looked at the wise man and thought “I wish I had done that, I wonder if he’d show me?”, the world will be looking around for a way to do things better, wishing they had done so in the first place.
Could we show them? Could we be the face of calm in the storm, standing on the rock amidst the raging sea? The world needs the Rock of Christ. Can we help them learn to stand on it? Can we learn to see past the mockery and the cynicism and see their loss of hope and certainty?
So how do we do this in the middle of lock downs, isolation and suspicion…Perhaps as the world moves almost completely online, this is the space within which we can show the world another way. One that is free from anxiety, free from fear, free from hate, judgement and harsh words.
How about where we see anger, we speak words of peace, where we see fear we show love, where we see criticism we can encourage, where we see need we reach out to help. As followers of Christ we do not have the monopoly on kindness, but we are called to be different, to be set apart to show another way - The Way
Let’s take a look at Matthew 5-7 this week and remind ourselves of who and what and how we are called to be. People are being lost in the darkness and chaos – let’s turn a light on and show them the way to the Rock on which we stand.
As I am writing this, the prayer of St Francis of Assisi comes to mind…
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace Where there is hatred, let me sow love Where there is injury, pardon Where there is doubt, faith Where there is despair, hope Where there is darkness, light And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master, grant that I may Not so much seek to be consoled as to console To be understood, as to understand To be loved, as to love For it is in giving that we receive And it's in pardoning that we are pardoned And it's in dying that we are born to Eternal Life Amen
This I Believe (The Creed) - Hillsong Worship
Cornerstone - Hillsong Worship
For kids – The Wise Man Built His House