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The Weekly Word: The right foundation

Therefore 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. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.

— Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV)

You may be familiar with the above story that Jesus told to conclude his famous “Sermon on the Mount.” Those of us who grew up attending Sunday School probably sang the kid’s song, “The wise man built his house upon the rock…”

It’s a little story with a big point. It doesn’t matter what we build, if we don’t build it on a right foundation it won’t last.

When I was in college, I worked during the summers for a bricklayer, ended up learning the trade and made my living for a few years in masonry. It’s been a handy trade to know. I’ve helped build two schools in Haiti and have done a lot of construction for camps and churches.

The Weekly Word: The right foundation
Tim Purcell
Superintendent of the Iowa/Minnesota District of the Wesleyan Church

Once I built a foundation for a cabin that was being relocated at a Christian camp. This cabin was in sad shape. The doors wouldn’t open or close and neither would the windows.

But an interesting thing happened when we moved it to the new, level foundation. The building, which had been sagging, slowly straightened out. And when it did, the windows and doors all started working again.

Turns out that it wasn’t a door and window problem at all. It was a foundation problem.

I’m afraid that too many people give too much attention to “windows and doors” and too little attention to the “foundation.”

What I mean is that we try to fix our problems with surface solutions. We numb our unhappiness by buying stuff. We deal with our broken relationships by distracting ourselves with entertainment. And so on. Those methods are like adjusting a sticky door instead of fixing the foundation.

So what kind of foundation will result in a life of peace and purpose? Jesus said that we build the right kind of foundation when we hear his words (recorded in the Bible) and put them into practice.

So, once again, speaking figuratively, before you try to fix that window that won’t open and close, give the foundation of your life some attention.

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