How is your foundation?
Tony Evans frequently shares a story that actually comes from his own experience:
“There was a man who noticed some cracks on his living room wall. So he called a painter to repair and cover the cracks. It looked like the painter fixed the problem, but a few weeks later the cracks reappeared. So the man called the painter back, and he once again covered the cracks with putty and paint. The problem looked like it had been fixed. However, in several more weeks the cracks came back but this time they brought all their friends. So the man called the painter again.
“After looking at many more cracks then he had seen before, the painter said, ‘Sir, I can’t help you because you don’t have a problem with cracks.’
“The frustrated homeowner said, ‘Can’t you see my living room wall? Of course I have a problem with cracks!’
“But the painter said, ‘The problem isn’t the cracks in your wall. Your problem is that you have a shifting foundation. The cracks you see on your wall are the symptoms of a deeper issue: the foundation of your house is moving. If you want to fix the cracks, you have to fix your foundation. But unless you fix the problem, you will forever be doing patchwork.”
Jesus concludes the Sermon on the Mount by stressing that if we want to fix the foundation of our lives, it will require that we listen to what He says and put His words into practice. Jesus said:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain come down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
In First Things First A. Roger Merrill tells of a business consultant who decided to landscape his grounds. He hired a woman with a doctorate in horticulture who was extremely knowledgeable. Because the business consultant traveled a lot, he kept emphasizing to her the need to create his garden in a way that would require little or no maintenance on his part. He insisted on automatic sprinklers and other labor-saving devices. Finally she stopped him and said, “There’s one thing you need to deal with before we go any further. If there’s no gardener, there’s no garden!”
The same principle applies to the garden of our souls and to the quality of our lives. If we do not do the needed work, there will be no worthwhile garden—no peace or joy or contentment in our soul. If we do not put into practice the things Jesus tells us, there will be no adequate, trustworthy foundation to our lives.