Matthew 7:24-29; 1 Corinthians 3:9-15
Though both brothers heard their father’s advice, one failed to heed it.
Long ago there lived a rich man with two sons—Jonathan and Joseph. One day, calling them to him, he said, “My sons, you are now old enough to leave here and build homes of your own. I possess a beautiful piece of land by the sea—I give it now to you. Build your homes, start your families, live and be prosperous. Remember to honor God as I have taught you and He will bless your lives. But take heed to these words: See that you build upon the great rock that overlooks the cove. There your homes will be safe from floods and storms. Go now, and may the God of Abraham be with you.”
The two brothers stood on the beautiful strip of beach just beneath the rock and looked out at the great sea before them. The younger son, Joseph, cast his eyes upon the smooth glistening sands. As the waves gently lapped upon the shore he thought for a moment, then turned to his brother. “I will go no farther with you, Jonathan, for I choose to build here on these golden sands.”
“Brother,” gently replied the elder, “do you not remember our father’s words? We are to build on the great rock.” He pointed to the grassy cliff high above them.
“I will build where I choose,” responded Joseph.
“But the sands are unstable. You must have a foundation that will stand!” pleaded Jonathan. “Come with me and we will build together.”
“You will not rule me!” Joseph walked away in anger. Jonathan slowly turned to the trail and headed alone for the great rock.
Time passed and the houses were built. Joseph erected a mighty mansion on the beach. It had in-door pools, great halls, and marble floors. Jonathan constructed a fine house with a barn and stables high upon the rock.
Joseph held great feasts and parties, and often entertained his friends, but Jonathan was known for his good deeds in helping the poor and building a place of worship for the villagers. The two saw very little of each other.
Years went by, and then one afternoon, Jonathan looked out of his window to see dark clouds gathering on the horizon, clouds such as he had never seen before. He peered anxiously down at Joseph’s mansion below.
Meanwhile, Joseph also was glancing at the black rolling clouds. As they came nearer, a strange thought passed through his mind. It was as if he heard his father’s words of so long ago: “Take heed! See that you build upon the great rock! There your homes will be safe from floods and storms.”
But I will be safe here in the cove, he thought to himself as he tried to push the concern from his mind.
The storm hit in the middle of the night, and a huge wave crashing against the window awoke Joseph. He listened in terror as the pillars in the halls groaned and shifted, and the savage winds screamed outside. His heart beating wildly, he raced to the door to escape the doomed mansion. Yet even as he ran, the floors started sinking for there was no foundation under them. The sea which he had once thought so calm and beautiful was pouring in from all sides. Forcing his way through the back door, he was seized by a mighty wave and tossed into the churning waters. He caught a glimpse of the great rock with Jonathan’s house safely anchored high above the floods. With an earsplitting crash his own house crumbled and fell. He tried to cry out, but was choked as the waters closed over his head.
Joseph awoke to the sounds of the sea which seemed to come from far away. Jonathan was seated next to him as he lay on the bed. “Thank the Lord for saving you from the storm, Joseph! We thought you had drowned, but we all gathered around you and prayed. The Lord has answered our prayers and you are with us.”
“Brother,” whispered Joseph weakly, “how foolish I have been. I should have listened. I heard the warning, but I didn’t obey. Now I have lost my home and everything that I own . . . I have nothing.”
“But God has spared your life, Joseph. All is not lost. We will build you a house here on the rock where you belong.”
Jonathan’s gentle words brought hope to Joseph’s heart. Yes, he thought, this time I shall build on the rock.
Like the wise man who built upon the rock, we need to build upon our Rock—Christ Jesus. We can rest safely and securely in Him. And though the storms of sin and the floods of trouble may beat down upon us, with Jesus as our Foundation we shall stand firm.