Scripture: Luke 6:39-49
Key verse: (46) “Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you?”
Reflection: This section of the Gospel of Luke includes three teachings. The first is about judging others, the second is about a heart that produces good and the third, which this devotion focuses on, is about building a strong foundation of faith.
No one I know, including myself, likes to be told what to do. Even when we seek the advice of someone else, we may find ourselves struggling to follow it. There is a wilfulness in all of us. We hear and welcome the teachings of Jesus, yet when it comes down to everyday life, we struggle to live out the things he taught us. Loving our enemies, being slow to condemn, and living a life worthy of Christ’s calling all sound good, but it’s a challenge to live this way. In a moment of frustration, Jesus asked his disciples why they kept calling him Lord when they wouldn’t do what he taught. And, then he told them a short parable about two foundations – one built on rock and one built on sand.
This past week, this parable was illustrated for me in pictures from the devastating earthquake in Indonesia. A photographer had captured what happened to the sand during the earthquake – it liquefies. So many homes had been built on sand and this ground, thought to be solid, turned into a river of muddy water devouring the homes that once sat firmly on it. It was heartbreaking to see such destruction. So many lives lost. As I looked at those images, the metaphor of a house built on sand came alive in my imagination. Too often we build our lives on sand, thinking it is solid ground. We do this by continuing to live life without following Jesus’ teachings. We go about our business, and then when life goes wrong we call on God. It’s as if we forget about Jesus until we need him. What might happen if we built our lives on the “rock”, the firm foundation of the teachings of Jesus and the gift of faith we’ve been given? Our lives change when our faith is built on solid ground. I like the way the old hymn of the church describes it:
My hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand;
all other ground is sinking sand;
all other ground is sinking sand.
(Text: Edward Mote, c. 1834; Music: William Batchelder Bradbury, 1863)
Author: Deborah Conner
[Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved].