Yesterday I preached on the two builders parable that Jesus used to finish up the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) or the Sermon on the Plain (Luke 6). It struck me that there are some helpful points for preachers in that story. I’m not going to write about how to preach the parable, but lessons from the parable that may be applicable to us. In fact, over the next few weeks I’ll be preaching through several of Jesus’ parables and so may try to offer some points for preachers in light of each parable.
The parable is very simple. Two men, two houses, potentially identical in every visible respect, but different in one very significant way: the foundation. The first man (Luke 6:48) dug down until he got to rock upon which he made the foundation. The second man just built his house on top of the ground (Luke 6:49). I have absolutely no building experience, and yet I know that the second man was crazy to build the way he did. I have been living for years, and yet I do the “crazy option” with alarming regularity.
Here are a few things for us to ponder:
1. What was the point? Just like the Sunday School song, we can easily miss the point of a very easy passage to understand. Jesus is not pointing to himself as the rock on which we must build our lives. That may be true truth, but it is not the truth of this passage. The point of the story is that the wise builder is the one who hears Jesus and does what he hears. Is there an area of obedience that is missing in your life right now?
2. Jesus did not say “if” but “when” … when the flood comes, when the stream bursts against the house. We can easily fall into a modified prosperity misunderstanding, just like the Sunday School song: the blessings will come down as the prayers go up! Nice, but not always true. Jesus said “when.” Jesus said that in this world we will have trouble. As preachers we need to prepare people for the real stuff of life, and we need to live our lives with awareness that trouble will hit us too. Will we stand firm, or will we stand in a pile of rubble when trouble hits? That depends, according to Jesus, on our doing what he teaches.
Tomorrow I will complete the list with two more reflections.