How is Your Foundation?

The story is told of a father teaching his son about what a Christian should be—brave as the apostles facing death, honest for Jesus said that the truth will set us free, loving as Jesus commands us to be, and full of joy and hope.  When the lesson was over, the father got a stab that he never forgot.  His son asked him, “Dad, have I ever met one of these Christians?”

G.K. Chesterton observed, “Christianity has not so much been tried and found wanting, as it has been found difficult and left untried.”

From a Biblical perspective, faith is not so much a set of beliefs or doctrinal affirmation, as it is a way in which we live.  Faith is about putting trust into action.    

Jesus tells a parable about two people who listen to his words.  One person hears Jesus’ words “and acts on them.”  Jesus likens this person to a house that is built upon a rock foundation.  When storms come along and pummel this house, its foundation on rock enables the house to withstand the storm.  A second person also hears Jesus’ words but “does not act” on them.  Jesus likens this person to a house that is built on “ground without a foundation.”  When storms come along, this house comes crashing down.

Putting trust into action establishes a solid foundation for our lives.  Not putting Christ’s words into action is like living in a house that has no foundation.  Eventually such a life will come crashing down.  

Tony Evans shares, “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.  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, and this time they brought their friends.  So the man called the painter again.  Seeing even more cracks than 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 replied, ‘Your problem isn’t the cracks on the wall.  Your problem is that you have a shifting foundation.  The cracks you see on your wall are 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 until you fix the foundation, you will forever be doing patchwork.’”    

The person who puts faith into action is like a house with a solid foundation.  The person who does not act upon Jesus’ words is like a house without a foundation. 

Consider the evidence of Jack Whittaker’s life: When Jack was awarded a lump-sum lottery payment of $170.5 million in cash in 2002, he promised to share his good fortune with the church and with the poor.  Indeed, he created a charity to help people find jobs, buy food or get an education, and he gave money to improve a Little League Park and to buy playground equipment, and he split $7 million between three churches.  But in 2003, a briefcase containing $545,000 in cash was stolen from Whittaker’s car while he was in a strip club.  After that, Whittaker was arrested twice for drunken driving, pleaded no contest to charges he attacked a bar manager, and was accused in two lawsuits for causing trouble at a nightclub and at a racetrack.  Because of the money Jack lost at strip clubs, in gambling, and through legal fees, his charity foundation had to close.  $170.5 million was not an adequate foundation to keep Jack’s life from crashing down. 

On the other hand, consider the evidence of Judith Briles’ life.  She shares that in 1981 her family “‘had it all,’ a beautiful home in an exclusive section of northern California, two expensive cars, investments, private schooling for our children, a vacation condo at Lake Tahoe, respect in our community and many friends.  Life couldn’t be better—or so we thought.”  But a partner’s drug addiction and embezzlement led to the loss of her home, the condo, both cars, jewelry, antiques, artwork, the business, private schooling, investments and savings.  Judith ended up in the hospital for cancer surgery, and they lost their 19-year-old son Frank in a drowning accident.  But Judith shares, “Frank’s death quickly revealed what was important and what was not.  Family was.  Friends were.  Faith was.  God was.  Money was not.”  As Judith acted upon her faith, she found that her life was built on a foundation that could withstand the storms. 

The person who does not act upon Jesus’ words is like a house without a foundation.  The person who puts faith into action is like a house with a solid foundation. 

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