Summary: Principles on which we can build a solid Christian life
“BUILDING YOUR LIFE IN THE NEW YEAR”
We’re already into the second day of a new year. For some of you, I suppose, 2010 was a wonderful year. For others, I’m guessing that 2010 was a terrible year. For the rest of us, we’re still trying to figure out where the year went.
Most of us have determined that we’ll be making some changes in our lives in this new year of 2011. Some of us are going to be getting rid of some things. Others are going to be adding some things. What we’re attempting to do in these changes is to build our lives for the better.
In Mt. 7:24-27, Jesus tells a parable about two builders. Jesus says, “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 came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat
against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Jesus describes our lives as though they are houses. We all need some sort of house to live in. A house exists for shelter, security, sufficiency, and satisfaction. It’s the place where we retreat and become refreshed. We all want some sort of house to live in.
In this parable, Jesus tells about two kinds of builders. On the outside, they looked very similar. We look very similar as well. Yet, we’re not all the same on the inside.
These builders had some other similarities. They had the same purpose. They were both building a house. They also built their houses in the same general geographical location. The storm Jesus spoke about hit both houses so we must conclude they were in the same general area. They also had the same basic plan. Every house basically consist of four walls, a floor, and a roof.
And there are similarities between the people who make up our congregation. We’re all building our own spiritual houses. We all have the same amount of time in which to build. Every one of us has 24 hour days and 7 day weeks.
We share similar duties during our time on earth. Many of us are working during the day. Some are going to school. Some are raising a family. All of us are trying to pay our bills. We participate in some form of recreation now and then.
But there is a distinctive difference between us as well. The difference can’t be seen because it’s under ground. The difference is in our foundations. It all hinges on what we build our lives.
In 1174 A.D., the Italian architect Bonnano Pisano began work on what would become his most famous project. It was a free-standing bell-tower for the Cathedral of the city of Pisa. The tower was to be eight stories and 185-feet tall.
There was, however, one “little” problem with the project. The builders quickly discovered that the soil was much softer than they had anticipated. And the foundation was far too shallow to adequately hold the structure. Sure enough, before long the whole structure had begun to tilt.... and it continued to tilt… until finally the architect and the builders realized that nothing could be done to make the Leaning Tower of Pisa straight again.
It took a total of 176 years to build the tower and during that time many things were done to try and compensate for the tilt. The foundation was shored up. The upper levels were even built at an angle to try to make the top of the tower look straight. Nothing worked. The tower has stood for over 830 years but there are still definite problems with the structure.
The government officials were afraid for the safety of tourists to the tower so they closed it down. That lasted almost 12 years. In December of 2001, it was reopened to the public. During that near 12-year span, engineers completed a 25 million-dollar renovation project designed to stabilize the tower. They removed 110 inches of dirt, and reduced the tower’s famous lean by about 16 inches.
They had to do the renovation work because the tower had been tilting further and further away from vertical for hundreds of years. It got to the point where the top of the 185-foot tower was 17 inches further south that the bottom. Italian authorities were concerned that if nothing were done, the tower would hve collapsed.