Throughout history, stories have been used by people to entertain, to teach, to record events and express the whole gamut of emotions that define us as human. Every culture has its unique stories, handed from generation to generation, either through oral traditions or written down. There is something profound and wonderful about reading words that were written centuries ago in lands far away.
It's no wonder then that Jesus used stories to share with people when He was alive in this world. His audience could relate to the situations that He described, ordinary situations which demonstrated principles of God's love and the way that we should live. We call these stories parables and these tales are often short but frequently deeply meaningful. The physical situations in them are often symbolic of spiritual truths.
What better way to begin a year than by looking at the first parable recorded in Matthew's gospel. Although not necessarily captioned as a parable as other stories in the gospels are, I deem the few verses describing the wise and foolish builders to be a parable, considering the Latin root of the word to be parabola, meaning "comparison".
Matthew 7: 24-27:
A wise man built his house on rock. When the storms came, the house stood firm. Another man foolishly built his house on sand. The storms came and the house was destroyed.
As in many other examples, Jesus explains the meaning of this comparison. The people who hear the words of God and put them into practice are like the wise man. They have a foundation on which their lives are built that is strong and secure. When the storms of life, which symbolise troubles, misfortune, fears and attacks come, they will stand firm.
The foolish man who builds his house on sand is symbolic of those who hear the word of God and disregard it. There foundation is not a relationship with God upon which everything else rests. It could be a variety of many other things- power, prestige, wealth, success, health, friends, popularity, for example, but without God being Lord of all these, they can all be lost when hardships come.
What is the foundation for your life?
We've just celebrated Christmas Day 2017. What was your state of mind at the end of that day.? Were you drunk? Were you jaded about the money spent on presents? Did you find yourself thinking that an emphasis on food and things had not really brought any lasting happiness? Were you exhausted from the frenzy of preparations for just one day? Or was the day filled with a wonderful sense of God's presence and an appreciation for the gift that we celebrate at Christmas- the gift of His Son, Jesus Christ? Was your heart filled with love and gratitude for the blessings that He pours out on us every single day?
When you build a house, it's important to have solid foundations- ones that are strong and stable, waterproof and termite proof. If the foundations are good the building above will be secure. If the foundations are shoddy the most magnificent structure above them is in peril. There can be no stronger or more trustworthy foundation for life than to build it on the love of God and His ways.
The beginning of a new year is a very appropriate time to take stock of life and make a commitment to God, if you've never done so. Let it be the foundation of this year, a solid rock on which your life will be the best you will ever have.
|My husband built the stairs and retaining walls in our garden- built on concrete foundations in 2006 and still standing strong eleven years later.|