Saturday 16th March – Luke 6:46-49 ‘Good foundations’

Luke 6:46-49

I’ve always loved a good sandcastle.  As a family we often head for the beach if we’re on holiday, and my particular speciality over the years was always a sand speedboat. Give me half an hour and a half-decent spade, and I can rustle up a passable sand-boat, complete with two seats and aerodynamic bow design.  And the great thing about this design is that it can be fairly easily adapted to any kind of vehicle: car, tractor, plane even a rocket.  5- or 6-year-old children aren’t too choosy!

It’s easy to build on sand, but we all know what happens when the tide comes in.  I’ve seen many a family at the seaside desperately trying to salvage their castle, frantically digging a trench to divert the water: but all it buys is a few extra minutes, before the shore is smooth again, and all traces of civilisation have disappeared.  Castles made of sand always fall in the sea… eventually.

Jesus continues his main point from yesterday – that real faith is shown through obedience, through how we live – by telling the famous story of two builders: the one who built on rock, and the other on sand.  And the comparison he draws is that to obey his teaching is to build our life on the right foundations: solid, dependable, a foundation that will last.  On other hand, if we don’t practice what Jesus preaches, then our foundations will be shaky, unreliable.  Our house is in danger of collapse.

Foundations matter: they matter for buildings – and they matter for our lives.  But the sting in the tail of this story is that it’s easy to build on sand, and hard to build on rock.  This is the point we need to spend time reflecting on.  To follow me and my teaching, Jesus says, is much the best way to live; but it’s also much harder to live that way.  It’s easy to follow the crowd (which is really what building on sand is) – to join in with the gossip, to lie to cover your own tracks, to buy something we don’t need on credit because we can’t wait to have it.  This is digging into sand… and sandcastles always collapse.

On the other hand, to dig into rock is hard graft – imagine how much harder in the pre-industrial society of Jesus’ day!  It’s frustrating, we may feel we are making little progress, for lots of effort; and yet, for those who persevere, the reward is immense. When the storms of life hit, our house stands firm ‘because it was well built’ (v48).

Deep down, we all want that kind of life; but there are no short-cuts.  It takes what John Stott used to call ‘daily dogged discipline’: not a very fashionable idea, but one which has stood the test of time.  It’s Jesus’ way; and thankfully he longs to pour out his Spirit on all those who would follow this way.  May God grant us all grace to build on good foundations today, that the house of our life stands firm, whatever storms we face at present.