The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders

art from jtbarts.com
art from jtbarts.com

We often use Jesus’ parables as a way to teach our children, and there’s nothing wrong with that. They take some complicated spiritual topics and communicate them through simple stories. However, in doing this, we have to remember that these parables are for us too. Jesus was speaking primarily to adults when He shared these lessons. There are things for all of us to take from the parables, no matter our spiritual maturity.

The Wise Man Built

With this in mind, let’s look at Luke 6:47 – 49:

Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.

This parable comes at the very end of Jesus’ sermon on the mount. He has just finished his thesis on what it means to live as God would have us live. He has shared spiritual knowledge about morality, about forgiveness, about love, about sin, and about the nature of a relationship with God. By concluding with this parable, Jesus is saying that we are either building upon His teachings or we are building on something less substantive.

A Foundation of Wisdom

I Corinthians 3:10 calls us a spiritual building laid upon the foundation of Christ. The thing about foundations is that they take digging to lay. For us, that means digging for spiritual knowledge. It takes effort and prayer. Remember how Solomon specifically asks God for wisdom? James tells us to do the same thing in James 1:5. So we both search the scriptures diligently and we pray faithfully that we have a knowledge in Christ that becomes a foundation for our lives.

The contrast to this is in I Corinthians 3:18 – 20 and Proverbs 3:7 where the scripture warns us about trusting too much in our own wisdom. Gaining knowledge and wisdom is a good thing, but it should never supplant our knowledge of God. When that happens, we move from standing on a foundation of rock to a foundation of sand. In fact, Solomon, in Ecclesiastes 1:16 – 18, warns that pursuing too much worldly knowledge can lead to worry and sorrow. When we let the things of this world stress us out and worry us away from God, our foundation shifts, and we might not even notice. That is why we need to keep our minds on God so the battle for our souls will not shift us.

The Solid Foundation

When Jesus is about to ascend, He tells His followers to share this foundation with everyone. It’s not enough to build our own house on the Rock. It is ours then to share Him with others. That is part of building our spiritual house. Then, our house grows even stronger upon its foundation as new bricks join. We work together atop the foundation of Christ to strengthen each other so that the storms of this life may never prevail against us.