Wise Builders (20-01-23)
Psalm of Praise: Psalms 103:1-2
Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits
Bible Reading: Matthew 7:24-27
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 sand.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash."
Helen and I have enjoyed watching a series of programmes on the television about the development of lighthouses at sea. As a means of helping the navigation of ships and of warning them of dangerous rocks, their design has been modified and developed over the years.
The first lighthouse to be built surrounded by open sea was the Eddystone Lighthouse, completed in 1698, but lasting just five years until it was destroyed in a storm. This was replaced in 1759 by John Smeaton with a design whose foundations used dovetailing granite blocks, secured to the Eddystone rocks themselves, to prevent movement. This became the model for future lighthouses.
In his parable, Jesus applies the image of foundations to our daily lives, reflecting on the importance of firm foundations if we are to withstand the storms and floods of life.
Many of the things we rely on in life are subject to change, not least our health and the health of those we love and depend on. Also our finances, which are affected by the vagaries of world events and where investments can go up or down, as the ‘small print’ always tells us.
I wonder what it is that gives you your security in life, what is it you turn to when life gets tough?
We may be familiar with Psalm 8 which tells us ‘The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.’ The Lord is indeed our rock, but in Jesus’ parable, the solid rock that we are to build our lives on is not Jesus himself, but obedience to his words. Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.’
Following the success of Smeaton’s dovetailing foundation blocks, which enabled lighthouses to withstand the forces of wind and wave, future lighthouse builders wisely followed his design and instructions. In a similar way we are wise to follow Jesus’ words when make choices that affect our lives and the lives of those around us, choices that need to withstand the storms of life.
God of all wisdom, remind me of your words and give me the grace to follow them as I continue to build the life you have given me. Amen