It amazes me that no matter how familiar I am with a passage of Scripture, I can come away with new perspectives, observations, and understandings. That is, of course, if I approach it with an open mind. The problem I face is when I begin to skim over the familiar, because I think I already know all it has to say. Sometimes the new observations and understandings come like an epiphany. One such moment came for me while reading the parable of the wise and foolish builders.
Many of us don’t even have to read the passage to tell the parable. The wise man built his house upon the rock, the rains came down and the floods came up, and the house on the rock stood firm. The foolish man built his house upon the sand, the rains came down and the floods came up, and the house on the sand went SPLAT! So build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ and the blessings will come down. The blessings come down as the prayers go up. So build your house on the Lord. (Be honest, you sang that in your head, didn’t you?)
Take a moment now and read the parable in Matthew 7:24-27. I’ll wait for you to come back. Do you notice any differences between the song and what Jesus says? Specifically, what trait does Jesus mention as the defining traits of the wise and foolish builders?
Countless times I have skimmed this familiar parable thinking I knew all it had to teach. I had always thought that the “house” was a metaphor for one’s life, and that the wise builder was the one who built his life on Christ. But that’s not quite what Jesus says. In fact, back up and read Matthew 7:21-27. The context suggests quite the opposite of what we often think when discussing this parable. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is very wise to build our lives on Christ. However, that is not exactly Jesus’ message here. Furthermore, this parable says nothing about prayers and blessings. The problem lies in the way we define building our life on Christ. From the way we practice faith, it seems that what many mean is accepting Jesus’s gift of salvation, attend church (at least semi-regularly), read the Bible, pray, and receive the resultant blessings.
When it comes down to it, I think this parable is about building our lives on Christ, that is why verses 21-23 are so important. Jesus says if we want to be wise, and truly build our lives on Him, it requires that we do what He says. This sounds similar to what James writes in James 1:22-27.
As we begin 2017, lets commit to being wise builders. May you have the strength and desire to do the things that Jesus calls you to do. May you end 2017 looking back and see that it was a year spent building on the rock.
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