Luke 6:46-49

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built.

But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.” Luke 6:46-49

Until I moved to Houston I never heard of anyone spending thousands of dollars on repairing the foundation of their house. But Houston is different than where I grew up. I grew up on the banks of a river but the ground underneath was solid. Houston was built in marshland. We actually have to water our houses. Like many others, when the doors no longer closed and the cracks appeared in the bedroom walls, I also had to spend thousands of dollars on foundation repairs.

Foundations matter.

What are the foundations of the solid rock life that comes with truly following Jesus? He tells us. “I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them.”

What are the words that he tells us? We could quickly summarize them as Jesus does – to love God and to love our neighbor. Fleshing out what that means takes many forms. Tell the truth. Act justly. Do your best. Be generous. Be merciful. Forgive as you have been forgiven. Reject violence, vengeance, and vindictiveness. Feed the hungry. Help the hurting. Seek the common good. The list could go on and on. We know this.

To follow Jesus is to do more than to give lip service. Words matter but words have consequences because words lead to action. Or inaction. But the love that Jesus speaks of runs much deeper than our feelings or emotions – Jesus speaks of agape love, the choice to love, the decision to love, regardless of personal cost or consequence. This love would take him to the cross.

And what about a life built on shifting sands? A life built without a solid foundation? This too could take many forms but it starts by putting ourselves at the center of the universe. Everything becomes about me – what I want, what I need, what’s in it for me? It is a life of idolatry, of falling prey to personality cults and tribalism. It is a life that seeks little beyond fame, fortune, and whatever other worldly standards allow us to “feel good about ourselves.”

Fixing the foundation of a house is a difficult, costly, endeavor. It means drilling holes throughout the interior. Digging deeply along the exterior. It means shoring up the weak areas and reestablishing a new level. Then it means fixing all the cosmetic damage that the repair itself has created.

I firmly believe that Jesus always wants the best for us, and the best from us. To come in faith to Jesus, to pay close attention to what he said and what he did, to discern what that means for us in our own lives, and then to act in ways that demonstrate the leadership of Jesus – this is the foundation for our best possible lives. As individuals, as families, as citizens.

We need some foundation work. That starts by admitting that the cracks we see reach far deeper than a few cosmetic repairs.

Let us pray: Dear Jesus, we sing of you as the solid rock on which we stand. Be more than that for us. We need, not only your guidance, we need your leadership. We need the power of your Spirit working in us that we might have the humility and the courage to back up what we say with what we do. In Jesus’ name. Amen.


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