Building for Eternity
But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. – James 1:22
Years ago, I worked on a house in the West Hills of Portland, Oregon. It was a new house built on a very steep hillside. The builder had spent thousands
of dollars putting pilings down deep into the ground before he ever started to build. He then built on top of the piling. Next door, a beautiful
house was being built. The man who was building that house said he did not think it was necessary to put pilings down, so he built a three-story
house on a foundation on top of the soil. That year, Portland had a very wet winter. Along with the rains came serious mudslides. The home where
I worked lost its backyard down the hill but the house stood firm. The owner of the house next door was never able to move into his new home because
it started to slide down the hill, making it uninhabitable.
There is a parable in the Book of Matthew that always reminds me of this incident. In the parable, Jesus tells about two men who built houses. One
built upon the rock, and the other upon the sand. When the storms came, rain, wind, and floods beat upon the two houses. The one on the rock stood,
and the one on the sand fell. Explaining the lesson of the parable, Jesus said the wise man who built on the rock was like someone who hears the
sayings of Jesus and does them. The foolish man, who built on the sand, was as someone who hears but does not obey.
In Jesus’ parable and in my own experience, simple precautions could have been taken to prevent the destruction of these homes. The foolish builders,
however, were not thinking about the storms and were caught unprepared. So it is for Christians; we have to build our spiritual houses not just
to stand in good times, but also to withstand the storms of life. When we receive instruction from God about the way we ought to be living, we
must obey regardless of whether we deem it as necessary now. God wants to prepare us for the storms, so we need to listen and obey!