There were a couple of times this past week our Lenten devotional These Forty Days referred to a work that Christians need to do in order to please our Lord. I found these words convicting and pray I will live up to them.
Matthew 7:24-27 talks about The Wise and Foolish Builders. Those who not only hear but practice Jesus’ words are like a wise man who built his house on a rock. The strong foundation enabled the house to withstand storms. But anyone who hears Jesus’ words and does not practice them is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. When storms came, that house could not weather them and it “fell with a great crash.”
I’ve heard this story many times, but for some reason this week it resonated with me differently. The point isn’t simply that the foolish man chose the easy route. It is that he literally chose not to do the work of digging deeply enough to build a strong foundation. He chose style over substance. His house may have initially looked as nice as the wise man’s, but it inevitably didn’t last.
Jesus shares this story so we will ask ourselves if we are doing the Kingdom work He calls us to. Are we digging deeply into authentic discipleship so that we have a strong foundation on which we can build our spiritual house? The foolish man did not consider the consequences of where he built his house or what might happen because he lacked a solid foundation. Jesus begs us to live and build our lives differently. He wants us to do the necessary work to be wise and strong so that (with His help) we can withstand the storms that come to our lives.
But Jesus doesn’t want us to only consider ourselves. Our spiritual houses should be filled with fellowship and hospitality. We need places where we can weather our own storms but also offer shelter to others as they do the same. We need to do this life with others so that we can share Jesus with them and then work for the Kingdom together.
This connects to the Evelyn Underhill quote on page 91. Underhill was the first woman to lecture on religion at Oxford in 1921. She says the following.
“We are the agents of the Creative Spirit in this world. Real advance in the spiritual life, then, means accepting this vocation with all it involves. Not merely turning over the pages of an engineering magazine and enjoying the pictures, but putting on overalls and getting on with the job. The real spiritual life must be horizontal as well as vertical; spread more and more as well as aspire more and more.”
Let’s get to work!