Leave it to Jesus the carpenter to tell a parable about construction so his followers can better understand life. Leave it to Jesus the itinerant preacher, who didn’t have to pay a mortgage, buy oil for the synagogue, or manage a church building fund, to explain what supports our homes and houses of worship. Leave it to Jesus the master teacher to know what type of design, materials and foundation are needed to maintain the finest structures. Truly, a man who traveled as frequently and widely as Jesus did knew how to make the journey simpler, if not easier.
Which is exactly what Jesus explains – albeit somewhat cryptically – in the parable of “The 2 Foundations” (Luke 6:46-49):
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you?” Jesus asks. “I’ll show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words and acts on them. That one is like a person building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like one who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.”
Leave it to Jesus to tell his followers – and, by extension, the rest of us – what he’s already told us. Jesus knew: Sometimes, while we’re transforming our lives, we need a refresher course. So we recognize that the way we’ve been traveling or living isn’t working. So we understand that everything we’ve done to this point will only get us more of the same if we don’t do something differently.
And our “Ah-Ha Moment” comes when we stop wondering what the parable means and notice what it invites us to hear. Then our spiritual understanding expands so we can shift our focus from outer confusion and uncertainty and center ourselves more fully in faith and trust. So we start believing in what endures, rather than in what is fleeting. So we remember that we can do what Jesus did and choose to put God first, building our lives on that solid ground.
And, as we continue reflecting on the parable, we may notice that Jesus doesn’t mention obtaining love, peace, joy, harmony, health, wealth, happiness or fulfillment – the precious intangibles so many of us desire and hold dear. Instead, he reminds us what sustains those things: God first, then everything else. Because no matter how much the waters may rage in the worlds of business, education, finance, insurance, media, medicine, politics, religion or sports, when God is our foundation, we know who we are and whose we are.
© 2016 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks. All rights reserved.