Built on Rock Rather Than Shifting Ground
By Rev. Jeff Lundblad
Matthew 7:24-27 NRSV “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. (25) The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. (26) And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. (27) The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell–and great was its fall!”
Up at Camp WYOBA, Memorial Hall was built next to a stream. Because the foundation wasn’t anchored to the bedrock below, the pillars supporting the building slowly shift throughout the year, which has led to the building approaching the end of its usefulness far earlier than expected. It wasn’t built on rock, but rather on shifting ground.
How do we know if someone else’s life is built upon spiritual bedrock? Earlier in Matthew, Jesus warned about false prophets. He said they were like trees that didn’t produce good fruit. Jesus claimed that you could recognize good trees by their good fruit. Conversely, you can recognize the bad trees by the bad fruit they produce.
I’ve noticed that those people producing really good fruit in their lives seem to excel at weathering the storms of life with grace and peace. When times get tough, they fall to their knees and find their strength. When faced with chaos, they spread peace like a blanket over a sleeping child. When lied about and attacked by others, they maintain a sense of calm, often choosing not to self-defend and exuding a peace that transcends comprehension.
While scientists use complex equipment to see below the surface of the ground, we don’t need that to see the spirit below someone’s carefully groomed exterior. We only need to look for the fruit of their life to know if they are founded on the bedrock of Christ. Do they weather storms with grace? Do they produce good fruit in their lives? How do they react to attacks, perceived or real? Through observation, we see the nature of their foundation.
But what do we do with that knowledge? Is it not a form of judgement, when we’re called to not judge?
We just had a nasty wind storm come through Laramie that knocked down a bunch of trees. While driving around town in the aftermath, I witnessed neighbors pulling out chainsaws and cutting up each other’s downed trees. Neighbors were stacking the cut wood and trimmed branches neatly out of the roads and driveways. What I saw, I could only understand as people producing and sharing good fruit to people whose trees were not well anchored.
This is a snapshot of how Christ wants us to deal with those whom we determine are not founded on “the Rock” or producing good fruit. Our judgment isn’t meant to condemn, but to identify those who need a new foundation. We can then reach out and minister to them through our words and actions and help them discover the peace found in Jesus.
Prayer: God of Grace and Peace, grant that I may see with your eyes and love with your heart, so that I may not judge to condemn but to minister appropriately. Amen
First Baptist Church