페이지 정보작성자 최고관리자 작성일15-12-29 22:36 조회950회 댓글0건
A seagoing ship sank in the midst of a violent storm. As the ship sank, all the seamen on board drowned. But two seamen managed to survive. They were swept away by the sea, and ended up on a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
The natives of this small island discovered the two shipwrecked survivors and fed them after treating their wounds. That night, all people of the island gathered around a bonfire and had a party.
Before they started eating, the chief of the island opened an old, tattered Bible and said, “We have a custom of reading the Bible before we eat.” One of the two shipwrecked survivors cynically smiled and said, “The Bible! Isn’t it a made-up story?” The chief then answered, “No, it is not. After a missionary gave us this book some time ago, all of our lives completely changed.”
The survivor argumentatively retorted, “Yeah, right. Then can you give me an example of how the Bible changed your lives?” The chief answered, “That’s easy. Had we not read the Bible, both of you would have been our meal for tonight.”
These cannibals, after reading the Bible, changed their ways. Had they not read the Bible, they would not have changed their evil custom of eating other human beings and the two shipwrecked sailors would have ended up as their next meal. These two survivors again survived because of the Bible. But one of the two sailors was completely oblivious to this fact!
During this hour, believe in the fact that the word of God can change cannibals into civilized human beings!
Today’s scripture is a conclusion to ‘the Sermon on the Mount’ that Jesus taught, as recorded in chapters 5 through 7 of Matthew. Jesus compares those who heeds and abides by the Sermon on the Mount to those who do not, through the parable of the builders.
Joseph, the biological father of Jesus, was a carpenter (Matthew 13: 55). Before He answered God’s calling, Jesus also worked as a carpenter (Mark 6: 3). Perhaps Jesus was so accustomed to building a house that He uses the ‘house builder’s parable’ to conclude His sermon.
But similar words also appear in Luke 6: 47-49. But today’s scripture give a better picture of the true conditions regarding Palestinian construction. Therefore, the Jews who heard this parable were quickly able to discern the sage from the fool.
In the Palestinian region, summers tend to completely dry out the river and turn riverbeds into sand filled desert. But approaching winter brings heavy downpour around September, which result in rivers overflowing after torrential downpours.
In this polar yet predictable seasonal pattern, those who wish to build houses without much effort build them in the summer. It is easy to find a large, flat plot of land within the dry riverbeds. Furthermore, building the house itself is easier and requires much less effort in the summer. But this has a drawback. During the winter, when the riverbed floods and gusty winds accompany torrential downpour, houses built during the summer easily and completely crumble. The people who build houses during the summer, then, are fools.
The wise people are not tempted by the ideal building conditions that summer provides, with wide-open riverbeds. In the middle of the desert, it is not easy to find bedrock or ground hard enough to serve as a firm foundation. Yet, looking ahead to the adverse conditions that winter brings, they spend the extra effort to find stable ground. They build houses on the foundation, and it is a difficult endeavor. But this extra effort pays off in the winter. No matter how much it rains and how hard the wind blows, the house built on this firm foundation rarely crumbles. It is because they built it on firm bedrock.
Our lives are akin to building a house. Some houses are built according accurate and meticulous architectural design, and built on a firm foundation that can withstand earthquakes. Material used in these houses tend to be the best and the sturdiest, and these houses are built not according to time standards but under quality standards. These houses will surely be sturdy castles.
But other houses are built using lightening-quick construction methods. Architectural designs are in name only, and the blueprints for these houses tend to be inaccurate. These houses are often built without consideration for firm foundation. The cheapest material tend to be used, and dominating factor of construction tend to be time or how fast the house can be built.
These houses do not last long. When the Wawoo apartment building, the Sampoong department store, and the Sungsoo Bridge collapsed in Korea, it was because of poor, sub-standard construction practices outlined above.
Why did Jesus conclude His Sermon on the Mount with the builder’s parable? It is to stress that those who heed and abide by Jesus’ words are indeed wise. Those who listen but do not abide by His words, as Jesus points out through His parable, are fools.
Then how do wise builders and foolish builders differ?
First, they differ in the way they lay foundation. What is the difference between a rock foundation and a sand foundation? The difference is basic stability. It is like the expression, ‘house of cards.’ Houses built on sand are like a house of cards they do not last long, and often collapse. Houses built on weak foundation cannot be safe. But rocks bedrock are sturdy foundations. Much of Palestine rests on limestone, and people often built houses on limestone.
Houses built on firm foundation can take most impacts without effect. In places like California and Japan, where earthquakes occur often, foundation is crucial in any construction. Buildings and houses must be built on foundations that can withstand most tremors. Likewise, we must construct our lives on firm foundation.
On what kind of foundation do you build your house of life today? Do you build it on top of such decaying perishables such as materialism, hedonism, or boasting? Houses built on these types of foundation will crumble at the first sign of secular tide and tremor.
A great riot erupted across Los Angeles and surrounding regions several years ago, as all of you probably remember. Most people lost their businesses, shops, and wealth which they spent decades building overnight. A shop owner who had a check-cashing business kept a large safe full of cash in his shop. He had hoped that even though his shop might have burned down, the safe would not be affected. Because the cash safe was built with steel and other thick, sturdy metals, he believed that no flame could penetrate the safe and burn the cash inside.
After the riots subsided, this check-cashing stores was burned to the ground. But the safe, with the exception of some charring, remained intact. The owner nervously opened the door to the safe, which held hundreds of thousand dollars in cash. Do you know what happened? All that cash had burned completely, and only a pile of ash greeted this shop owner.
Nothing is more important than where you place the base, the foundation, of your lives. Do not make things of this world, which will come and go, as your foundation. Once those things disappear, your house will surely crumble. Build your houses on heaven, the firm foundation that will always be with us forever. Build your houses on top of God’s words.
Isaiah 40: 8 speaks. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand for ever.” I pray in the name of our Lord that all of us can use as our foundation the everlasting and ever vigilant words of God, which will protect us through all eternity.
Second, they differ in the amount of effort they expend to build their houses. Those who build their houses on sand and those who build them on rocks expend different amount of effort. As I already said, the region of present-day Israel does not get much rain in the summer, and all the riverbeds dry up. A wide spanning sand desert appears.
Those who want to build houses without much effort are tempted by these dry riverbeds. They don’t have to spend much time looking for a flat plot of land. But those who seek a firm foundation have to do some searching. They have to spend time doing so. They have to spend money and material. It is not easy to find, in the middle of a desert, a piece of ground or bedrock that can serve as a sturdy foundation for a house.
Do you wish to become a disciple of Jesus today, without effort? Then you are building your house on sand. When tribulations arrive, your houses will surely crumble if it is built on sand.
Jesus tells us the following in Matthew 7: 13-14. “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”
We must not enter through the broad gate, like people of non-faith, when we profess to believe in Jesus. We must enter through the narrow gate, even though it may be more difficult and trying. On the other side of that narrow gate lie salvation and everlasting life.
Abraham Maslow left a famous quote. “An artist must paint, a poet must write, and a musician must compose if he is to be ultimately at peace with himself.”
It is true. If we do not lead a life of Christian as a Christian, then we will never be at peace with ourselves. If we live like other people in the world, our psyche will fragment. We must deny ourselves daily and walk the narrow path while bearing the cross that is given to us. That is the path that we must walk as true Christians.
Do not become the foolish builder who seeks to build a house without effort! Even though the other method requires more time, material, and effort, choose the wise path and build your houses on a firm foundation!
Third, they differ in the way they look into the future.
Those who build their houses on sand are near-sighted. They can only see what is just ahead. They cannot look few months down the line, when a great rainfall will wash everything out. They only think about the present, when they can build a house without much effort.
In Israel, summers don’t bring much rain. Starting September, until next February, great rainfall brings a deluge of water. Because the region of Israel has a lot of creeks, rainfall in northern Galilee tends to create great floods in southern parts of Israel. People who build houses on sand cannot see nor predict this annual seasonal event that will take place few months into the future. When the rain falls and the wind blows, their houses get blown down.
In Genesis, chapter 13, we see Abraham and his nephew, Lot, separate as a family. They both lived in a same house, but as their wealth expanded, the land could not sustain both households. Herdsmen and servants from both houses often fought and argued. When the two households separated, Abraham, even though he was the elder, gave the first choice to his nephew Lot.
Lot, looking only at what was ahead of him, immediately chose Sodom and Gomorrah. According to Genesis 13: 10, before God passed judgment and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, they seemed “like the garden of the Lord, like the land of Egypt.” Sodom and Gomorrah probably seemed like Las Vegas of today with all the bright neon lights and all the nocturnal activities.
But Sodom and Gomorrah soon after are destroyed by lava, because they did not have ten righteous people. They may have looked good at the moment, but Lot did not know that both cities were rotting from the inside!
Although doing some activity may sound good at the moment, do not do it if it goes against God’s will. Do not choose it. You will run into problems later. Something may look bad, painful, or unprofitable at the moment. But if that thing is in accordance with God’s will, then do not hesitate to do it. God will bless you in the future!
Let’s conclude today’s sermon. There are two ways to build a house of life. One way is the easy way, which requires little effort, since the house is built on a weak foundation. Only fools build houses this way.
The second way is the hard, yet wise way. It may require more effort, money, time and material, but the house is built on a sturdy foundation with the distant future in mind. Only the wise build houses this way.
Those who hear Jesus, yet do not abide by His words, are the foolish builders.
But those who listen and abide by His words are wise. What type of builders do you want to be? I hope that all of us sitting or standing here can choose to be a wise builder today. Amen.
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