Matthew 7:24-25 – Jesus said, "Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock." (NIV)
My first congregation as a student minister in rural Ontario had connected with it a very modest manse — think more of a cosy, three-bedroom cottage than a house — no garage, no basement, and little storage. I asked a very wise Christian friend, who owned a Canadian Tire store, to donate a metal siding garden shed for storage purposes. He readily agreed, under one caveat: that our congregation first build a strong foundation on which the shed was to be built. It was decided that a thick concrete base, reinforced with steel rods, would make the strongest and longest-lasting foundation. It was almost 20 years ago that the garden shed was built on that most solid of bases.
Now, I'm sure many of you are familiar with this type of backyard shed and have seen older ones that have become the victims of their years. Perhaps the sides are bulging out, the roof partially collapsed and leaking, or the floorboards rotten and difficult to walk across. Typically, the foundation is not much more than a smoothed-over lawn.
Some time ago, I revisited this old manse with its garden shed. While the manse looks a little tired and weathered, the modest garden shed stands firm and strong on its foundation. The roof resists record Ontario snowfalls; the walls are straight and sturdy; the floor is flat and unyielding; and its contents are always dry.
It has been my experience in life that those whose personal foundations are most secure are those who lead the strongest, most satisfying, and richest of lives. Jesus' teachings are foundational for meaningful lives, lives rich in peace, humility, forgiveness, and grace, with a love of neighbour and self. Many people are drawn to other ways of life, ways that one might argue have a strong foundation, but Christ's way cannot be improved upon.
Prayer: Lord, our lives are solid when You are our rock, our foundation. Help us not only to hear Your words, but also to put them into practice in our everyday lives. Help us to become a reflection of Your generous and accepting love. Amen.
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