Tuesday, September 06, 2005

a fresh perspective on Matthew 7

As I was thinking about the incredible tragedy down in the Gulf Coast.

Jesus told those standing nearby:
"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 the sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew against that house, and it fell with a great crash." Matthew 7:24-27 NIV

As I was thinking about the hurricane devastation going on down south, these verses came to mind. As I was thinking about it, the word "house" took on a little bit of a different meaning. We tend to think about the word "house" in the context of a physical structure (i.e. wood, nails, plaster, shingles, etc) and we have good reason to think of it this way. But there is another context in which we use the word "house." We also tend to use it as a category describing our personal life, both physical and nonphysical items. For instance, when a person dies, we say his or her "house" was in order (i.e. they updated their will, took care of important conversations, etc).

What if (just ideas here) Jesus wasn't talking about a physical house in these verses, but the sum total of a person's life... physical and nonphysical... in his story about two men who heard his teachings.

As I have listened over the last couple of weeks to the comments of people on TV or on the radio, two phrases seem to repeat (and I have no doubt to the degree of passion and truth and seriousness with which they say it), "I've lost everything. I have nothing left."

Thinking about the story of two people that Jesus told above, I have no doubt that those who were affected by the hurricane lost everything physically. But there are some things that can not be taken by a hurricane, storm or any natural disaster. The rock still remains even after the flood. Faith, hope and love still remain (according to 1 Cor 13) no matter what. Those who don't have faith, hope and love in the Rock (Christ) did lose everything. Those who have their "house" built on the Rock (Christ), still have their "house" of faith, love, perseverance, confidence, hope, courage, etc.

When the storms of life come, and Hurricane Katrina certainly makes it evident that they will, where is your foundation built? Self, home insurance, physical strength, brick structures, etc? Or is your house built on the Rock of Christ Jesus?

After the storms go through, the wise man and the foolish man from the above story may on the outside look the same, in that they lost their house, cars, clothes, personal belongings of this world... but on the inside, things are very different.

I'm praying for those down South. If you are reading this and don't have your foundation on the Rock of Christ, feel free to email me... I'd love to talk with you about it (jim@fvcc.com).



  1. Interesting take. I suppose I've just read too much N.T. Wright; I assumed that the house on the sand was the Jerusalem temple and the house on the rock was the community of Jesus' new Israel. But that's not a bad analogy you've got there.

  2. Wait, you have a blog?? i'm impressed!!

  3. Great thoughts! A timely reminder for us all...