Jon Schell: The wise and foolish builders

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 31, 2021

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” – Mt 7:24-27

Jesus told this parable to show what would happen to those who accepted or rejected his words. Notice the many similarities between the two builders.

Both built “houses”, which were the outcome of all their years of work and ambition. These were fashioned by their own hands, and seen by all. They were their life’s work and were meant to stand the test of time.

Both builders heard the words of Jesus, knowing them well enough to make a decision about them. This includes the “sinner” who seldom hears as well as the church-goer who knows the words of Jesus and can even quote them by heart.

Both builders would also face a ravaging storm that would beat against their house. Such violent storms would spare no one, no matter where they were built.

Yet with all the similarities of the two builders, there was one very important difference. One built upon bedrock, while the other built upon sand. This choice was the deciding factor as to whether their houses withstood the storm or were destroyed by it. And this choice also caused our Savior to label them either “wise” or “foolish.”

All people experience storms in life. After all, Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble.” Yet, when these storms come, they will not destroy the person whose life is built on Christ. Their trust in Him as Savior and obedience to Him as Lord will see them through even the worst of storms. They will even be able to withstand the greatest coming storm: Judgment Day. Not only will they survive that day, they will be eternally blessed for trusting in Jesus as their Savior.

This is not the case for the one who may know, but does not follow the teachings of Christ. When the storm comes and beats against their house, they will fall. Their structure cannot stand because it was built on a poor foundation. It will collapse in this life and on Judgment Day.

Hearing Christ’s teaching is not enough. What makes someone “wise” or “foolish” is whether or not they obey Christ. Success depends on putting Jesus’ words into practice. Scripture says: Don’t just listen to God’s Word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. – James 1:22

What do you do with the words of Jesus? Do you put them into practice? Will your house weather the storm?

Rev. Jon Schell is pastor of St. Luke’s Church Granite Quarry

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