Foiling the Foundation Fleecing and Filching Foe
Luke 6:46-49 says: “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? 47 Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: 48 he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. 49 But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.”
One summer in high school I went to visit my aunt and uncle, who at the time, lived outside of Minneapolis. I spent a couple of weeks there and helped them build a retaining wall in the backyard. I realized, as we were preparing everything, how bad my retaining wall would have been had I built it myself. I never considered that a good chunk of the retaining wall was actually underground, helping to support and stabilize what was above ground. I never would have considered a foundation of sand and rock to help level the ground before one brick was even put in place. My wall would not have survived very long. Moral of the story: don’t ask me to build you a retaining wall.
Foundation matters. It mattered to Jesus and it should matter to us. We believe in a good foundation for our houses, our office buildings, and just about anything that is produced. If the foundation is weak, the product will fall apart. Why then, do so many people not take foundation seriously in their spiritual lives? Jesus promises us that He is here to help us build and sustain our spiritual houses, but it takes the foundation we are willing to invest in keeping. The Foundation Fleecing and Filching Foe (Satan) comes in with his destruction equipment and profane and problematic pretend permits to take away what the construction crew of God has helped us build. Do we care enough about our spiritual house to build the foundation strong enough to withstand earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricane-force winds, and the occasional volcanic onslaught?
Jesus calls us to think on and do a lot of things. But for good reason. He knows that obedience helps build the good foundation of not only a spiritual life, but also a spiritual home for our families, a spiritual workplace (that you have more power to influence than you might think), and a spiritual community of people who buy into your obedient view of living. Obedience or disobedience is what shapes how the rest of the house is built. You can’t always tell if a house has a weak foundation by casual observance, but if you walk through the house, test it out, eventually you will see if it will stand the test of time.
What would people see if they tested you more than just casual observance? Would they find skeletons buried under the basement floor? Would they find gaping holes where troublesome twisted terrestrial termites have eaten away at the floorboards? Or, would they find that Satan’s Scourge of a Spiritual Safety Inspector (God) has put His seal of approval on your foundation, allowing for that house of grandeur to be the boon of the neighborhood?
Obedience is easy, on paper. Anyone can say, “Obey”, and we have every intention of doing it because we know it’s the right thing to do. But then those hurricane-force winds hit and we see what that foundation of obedience really looks like. The reality is that obedience is built on observation: observing those who have that strong foundation themselves, and observing the One (Jesus) whose obedience will always be model for humanity. Our obedience will always be a mix of seeing the obedience of others and being inspired by what obedience slowly, but surely, gives to us. And the good news is that, with greater obedience, Jesus promises that our spiritual shack can be transformed into a spiritual “model home.” It may not be the mansion a few blocks away, but it assumes, over time, those perfect accent pieces and that carefully landscaped facade. And you can help people be inspired when they see your spiritual home in the same way we’re creatively inspired when we walk through a model home.
Consider obedience. Consider how the promises of God are bricks in our foundation, and our obedience is the mortar that connects them, allowing what is above ground to shine and be stable for years to come. Consider what you want people to see and experience of your spiritual house. Amen.