Summary: Your world view will determine what you do. It will give shape to how you live in this world. Our world view forms our character.
IMPROVING YOUR VISION
Talking and Listening to God -- Part 3
December 12, 2010
Matthew 7:24-27 (NIV)
24 ‘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. 25 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. 26 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. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”’
I’m afraid I’ve never been very good about writing letters. When I was in college, I hardly ever wrote home. It was a reciprocal arrangement, I guess, because my folks never wrote to me. They were busy; I was busy. And I was only an hour-and-a-half away, so we didn’t write. One holiday -- I think maybe it was Thanksgiving -- I drove the ninety miles to spend some quality time at home. Only, when I got there -- it was about ten o’clock at night -- home wasn’t home. The house was dark, and the car wasn’t in the driveway. So, I thought my family might be out. But when my key didn’t work, I began to worry. I knocked on the door, only to have a stranger answer. He was annoyed, to say the least, and I was perplexed. ‘Do you live here?’ I asked. I couldn’t believe what was happening. It was surreal. ‘Who are you?’ he demanded. ‘I’m, uh, I’m.... This is my house,’ I said. ‘Who are you? And where is my family?’ When the stranger saw my desperation, he pointed me to the house next door. He said the people who used to live in his house -- his house, he called it! -- had moved next door. Sure enough, when I knocked on the door of that house, my mother answered. My parents had moved to the house next door -- and they did it without telling me! ‘Why didn’t you tell me?’ I asked. Her answer? ‘Well, son, if you would write or call once in a while, you would know these things!’ When I was finally able to forgive my parents for moving without telling me -- What if they had moved across town? I thought! -- I asked my mother why they moved. ‘This house has a better view,’ she said. A better view? It didn’t make sense to me, but, then, I didn’t have the right to say much, did I? I was just glad I found them.
I am relatively sure that both of those houses -- the one my family had lived in and the one they now lived in -- I’m sure that they were both built on a solid foundation. So far as I know, neither one of them ever blew away. They were built to withstand the weather.
But not every house, I suppose, is. Nor is every life. Jesus talks about us building our lives the way someone would build a house. And whatever we build, of course, we hope it will survive the elements. Some houses don’t, Jesus said. And what he meant was: Some lives don’t. He talks about ‘a foolish man who built his house on sand’ -- hardly a durable foundation. ‘The rain came down,’ Jesus said, and ‘the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.’ The foolish man now had no view at all, or, depending on how you look at it, he had a great view! There was nothing to block his view! Although I’m sure he wouldn’t have seen it that way!
The past several Sundays, we’ve been thinking about talking and listening to God. We’ve said that communication with God is not a one-way street, that we’ve got to listen as well as talk. Today I want to suggest that, as we listen to God, we’ll learn that he wants to show us some things. And he wants us to see things a certain way -- the way they really are. He wants to improve our vision.
The trouble is, the house we live in, so to speak, may not have a very good view. We might need to move to another house in order to have that. We might need to move, as my parents did, to the house next door. Or, to put it another way: In order to be in communion with God, in order to be in communication with God, we need to see our world the way God sees it. We need a better view. We need to improve our vision. Jesus’ parable about the two houses talks about how we build, but it also talks about where we build. We need to build on a solid foundation. We need to be like the ‘wise man [in Jesus’ story] who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house [just as they did against the other house]; yet it did not fall,’ Jesus said, ‘because it had its foundation on the rock.’