Summary: Some reflections on the Wise and Foolish Builders
The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders
Quiz: When I was at school, we had a master called Mr. Pilgrim and he used to ask “Mars Bar” questions. If you got the answer right – you got a Mars Bar
So I have a “Mars Bar” question:
Can you guess what this building is?
1. It has something to do with the Parable of the House on the Rock
2. It was built between 1173 and 1350
3. It is about two meters above sea level
4. It is a bell tower of a Cathedral
5. It has poor foundations
6. A famous scientist dropped two balls of the same weight from it and found that they reached the bottom at the same time.
7. That scientist was Galileo
8. It is somewhere in Italy
9. In 1997, it had a lean of 5.2 meters from the vertical
Answer: The Leaning Tower of Pisa
Question: Why does the Tower lean?
Answer: Because it has poor foundations
Jesus told a story about two houses.
Slide 1: The men built the houses the same.
Slide 2: They finished them at the same time and sat down to have a drink.
Slide 3: trouble was on the horizon, a storm was brewing
Slide 4: Which man felt safer in his house
Slide 5: What was the outcome of the storm?
Story: When I was younger, I used to go to the beach and build sandcastles, but if I went back the next day – they were always gone.
Why because sand is a bad foundation for a castle.
The difference between sand and rock is basically that the rock particles are bonded were tightly together and the sand particles are compacted loosely together.
So sand, although it might look good – is not a good foundation.
Question: So in Jesus’ story, what do you think the house symbolises?
Answer: Our lives
Story: When I was in Switzerland, Maddy and I ran a refugee church. We used to have simultaneous translations of my sermons into German, French Portuguese, Tamil, Indian, and Kurdish just to name some of the languages.
And one Sunday, I spoke of the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders.
And before I had said one word, I put my first slide up showing the houses being built – and one of the Indian refugees turned to the translator and said: He’s going to speak about my life, isn’t he?
Question: With which builder did Jesus compare a person who listened to Jesus teaching and put it into effect
Answer: The wise man who built his house of the rock
Question: With which builder did Jesus compare a person who listened to Jesus’ teaching but didn’t put it into effect
Answer: The foolish man who built his house on the sand
Question: There will be storms in life - times when things go wrong. Which type of person did Jesus say will survive?
Answer: Those who follow what he teaches
Jesus told this story at the end of a series of talks which we call the Sermon on the Mount that you can find in Matt. 5-7
I have asked some people to read some of the more famous sayings of Jesus from these chapters
i. Mt. 5:3-12
3. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted
5 Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth
6 Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for thee shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
11 Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you and say all manner of evil against you falsely, on account of me
12 Rejoice and be glad , for your reward in heaven is great
The world has very few peacemakers.
Story: One man I greatly respected was President Anwar al-Sadat of Egypt. On 20th November 1977, he went to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, and spoke there. And that speech was very influential in bringing about the peace in 1979 between Israel and Egypt.
Sadat was assassinated on 6th October 1981 by some Egyptian extremists for his efforts in making peace with Israel.
Let me read you some of that speech:
President Anwar Sadat’s Address to the Israeli Knesset November 20, 1977
In the name of God, Mr. Speaker of the Knesset, ladies and gentlemen, allow me first to thank deeply the Speaker of the Knesset for affording me this opportunity to address you....