Ever since I was a baby in the womb, I have been in church. I’ve heard thousands of sermons, attended a private Christian school, and have a lineage of pastors in my family. Needless to say, I’ve heard the Word preached many times. And I’ve been like that foolish person who simply listened and walked away. I’ve been like the one who builds sandcastle kingdoms that will eventually wash away.
I’ve learned, and I am learning, that sandcastle kingdoms do not provide shelter in the storms of life. They do not provide soft beds when we are tired. They do not welcome the hungry, the hurting, and the hopeless. No. They simply sit there, looking good on the outside, without any treasure to offer on the inside.
You Are Building Something
Every day we pick up our shovels and build something. If we are not careful, we will even build our own kingdoms in the name of Jesus. We will use the glory of our Savior to add credibility and loveliness to our own names, efforts, and dreams. We will try to grow our social media followings, make our dreams come true, and achieve our goals. All in order to get recognized and have our own names and kingdoms lifted high.
We will work in our homes for the praise of our “humility.” We will serve for the praise of our “compassion.” Or we will create for the praise of our “ideas.” All of these heart motives will fail us. They will wash away like a sandcastle does when the waves of life come up to the shoreline.
Following the Kingdom Builder
Jesus taught his disciples what kingdom living really looks like in the Sermon on the Mount while sitting on a hillside. Jesus laid out the inside-out, upside-down pattern of living that marks a person who follows him. He begins with the Beatitudes, completely redefining what true happiness and blessing are in the kingdom of God. And he ends with an urgent command to build your “house” on the rock.
As Galileans, his disciples would have understood the importance of building a house upon a rocky foundation rather than sand. The sand by the Sea of Galilee would harden during summertime, giving the appearance of a good foundation. But once the storms of winter came and the waters from the Jordan River rose, the house would collapse if not built beneath the hardened sand on the rock. Jesus used this real-life example to teach us how to build a life.
Read these words slowly and thoughtfully, as if you are sitting on the hillside listening to Jesus teach:
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who fears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, and the floods are, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Matt. 7:24-27)
Wise or Foolish?
Here Jesus compares two different builders and two different foundations. We learn of the foolish and the wise, the rock foundation and the sand foundation. Jesus cuts straight to the point:
- The wise are those who hear the words of Jesus and do them. But the foolish are those who hear the words of Jesus and don’t do them.
- The wise build their house, or their life, on the rock. But the foolish build their life on sand.
- Finally, the wise take into account the future storms, rains, and waters and dig down deeper. They lay the foundation past the hardened summer sand to the bedrock to build. But the foolish think only of the present moment and build right on the sand. They fail to take the coming months into account.
Dr. Gordon Franz explains, “The wise builder counted the cost and put time, energy and effort into building a foundation for his house, while the foolish builder took shortcuts and ignored the need for a foundation.”
The Foundation That Lasts
Sand shifts and sinks and blows in the wind. It never settles in one place for long. Add some rain, and it breaks apart and loses all stability. If a builder were thinking about building a house right on top of sand, I would not buy it. Seeing the foundation is faulty, it wouldn’t matter how beautiful the house is—the foundation wouldn’t hold.
And yet, we are just like that builder. We spend the majority of our time envying our neighbor’s possessions and trying to “keep up with the Joneses.” Likes, follows, and affirmations consume our thoughts. We model our life decisions off of reality TV more than we base them on the Word of God. We compare and contrast our callings to everyone around us and end up spinning in a cycle of defeat. Focusing more on the present moment, we lose sight of the future implications for each decision made. We are all builders, and the question is—will what we build last and stand for Christ?
Building Kingdoms in Christ
But, as Christ-followers, our lives are built on a Cornerstone that cannot be shaken. This Cornerstone, our Jesus, not only keeps us stable in the storms of life but also chisels away at our fleshly desires, leaving behind the beauty of Christ. When we fix our eyes on the Sand-Maker and Wave-Sender, our hands will build his kingdom that lasts forever.
Apart from Jesus, we are all building sandcastle kingdoms. We build our own mini-kingdoms on earth where we are the kings and queens of our domain. When Jesus rescues us from these sandcastle kingdoms, he invites us to be a part of building his unshakable kingdom (Heb. 12:28). Instead of building on sand, we build on the Rock (Acts 4:11, Isa. 28:16; Matt. 21:42). No wave of the sea can knock down a life built on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ.
Reflect and Respond:
Take a moment to reflect on your current goals, dreams, and daily pursuits. Are you building on the sand or the Rock? Confess any areas where you are attempting to build on the sandy foundation of this world. Then ask the Lord to guide you and strengthen you to build on the Rock of Christ.
What would your life look like if you built on the Rock? How would it be different than it is now?
On Solid Rock,
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