Scripture Reading: Matthew 7:24-29, Psalm 18:1-6, Isaiah 17:10-11, Matthew 25:1-13, 2 Corinthians 3:18, James 2:20-23
Somewhere in Nashville there’s a toddler-sized red and white cowgirl outfit from the 60s, complete with embroidered yellow flowers and white leather fringe. It was given to my daughter by our elderly neighbors, brought out of a wooden chest and handed to my wide-eyed girl when she was about 3 years old. Now, several years later, it circulates among my friends and their own little wide-eyed girls.
Carlton and Joyce were good neighbors, always watching over our small yard from the front porch of their brick cottage across the street. I winced from my own front porch the day the wrecking ball swung with intention and knocked down that empty house. My toddler boys watched in delight and awe as the big, loud machines did their work, but my heart ached.
My friends lived three decades of life in that house. They raised their girls there, watching their city grow tall around them. They collected snowman figurines and looked out for their neighbors. Then, when most of their life had been lived, they moved on and let the wrecking ball do its worst.
The thing that strikes me about this short passage in Matthew is not the dichotomy of outcome, but the similarity of process. One house collapses with a crash and one stands strong—the contrast is stark. But the circumstances the two houses endure are remarkably similar. In fact, they are just the same: “The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house” (Matthew 7:25, 27). Similar process, very different outcome.
All of our earthly houses will one day fall. We’re all honest enough to admit it. We know the things of earth don’t last and we’d do well to store up eternal possessions instead. But how do we do that? How do we build a metaphorical house that literally lasts forever?
“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24).
Hear Jesus’ words. Act on Jesus’ words. This is how we practically and actually build our house on the rock.
Did your brain just register that last little paragraph as, “Be a good Christian”? If so, you’re not alone. I hear that, too. So let’s slow down and consider it again.
Hear Jesus’ words. Act on Jesus’ words. Here are just a handful of them:
“Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15).
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
“Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another” (John 13:34).
“Ask, and it will be given to you. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).
“The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him” (John 7:38).
The words of Christ are life-giving; they are trustworthy and true. We can stake our lives on them. We can build our houses on them.
His words do not merely impart rules for smart living—tips for a favorable outcome. Jesus’ words impart life and love and salvation. The life Christ gives cannot be washed away by heavy rains, or consumed by the rising tide, or displaced by gale-force winds. His Word is eternal. It cannot become untrue.
So then, go ahead and build your life. Build houses and meet neighbors and raise wide-eyed girls and boys. Let’s live well this one life we’ve been given, but let’s do so on the only foundation that will last: the gospel of Jesus Christ. For when all our years and efforts and cottages crumble around us, His Word will stand. We are forever secure when our home is found in Him.