Summary: Storms are a guaranteed reality of life. Are you ready for what will come?
This is a homily for a mid-week gathering called The Tuesday Feast (http://catm.ca/TuesdayFeast.html) at The Yonge Street Mission.
Have you ever been down to Front Street in Toronto (Canada)? Did you know that’s just south of Front street used to be the shoreline of Lake Ontario. That’s right. Once it was water and a relatively unstable shoreline. Once boats and ships and flotsam and jetsom parked there. Now, there are parks and huge buildings and mega thousands of people even, living there.
Everything that we take for granted nowadays like the Skydome and the Air Canada Centre and the Lakeshore and Gardiner Expressway, it’s built on man-made stuff - sand, cement, rocks...you name it that wasn’t there at all not too long ago.
In order to even dream of building skyscrapers and the Rogers Centre as it’s now called, they had to work long and hard and smart to make sure the foundation was solid. They had to make sure the foundation they were building could take everything that would be thrown at it, not just tons of construction but also natural stuff like some of the massive storms we’ve had over the years.
To build anything, there has to be a rock solid foundation to it. In the Scripture today Jesus talks about two people.
One of them intentionally built his house on a rock.
The other person built his house on sand, on something ultimately not at all stable. Then, life happened. The rain came. The water rose. The winds blew and beat against house.
The one who built his house on the rock was secure. His house did not fall. Maybe it took a battering, but it ultimately did well. The one who built his house on the sand found that the house could not withstand the storms and the rain, all that life through at it. It came down with a mighty crash.
But Jesus tells the story not to give a lesson in home construction, as helpful as that would be. He tells it to help us to understand that we need to build our lives on something that will not fail us. We need to build our inner lives on a foundation that will enable us to withstand whatever it is that life throws at us.
And Jesus identified what it is that is the best and most trustworthy place to put our trust. He said everyone who hears his words and puts them into practice is like a wise man who builds on a rock.
So Jesus is saying that His Word, which is the Word of God, is the absolute best way forward in life.
When we trust in him, and all that he has said, we are part of the way there. It's critical that we come to Jesus in faith, accepting him as our Lord and Savior, accepting him into our lives as the king of our lives. And it's also critical that we understand God in God's terms. By that I mean that we don't just make up stuff about God, we don't pick and choose what we want to believe about God.
We come to a mature understanding that the Bible is the Word of God, that it is God's revelation to you and me and the rest of humanity about himself and about humanity.
Through the word of God we come to understand our sinfulness, and our need for Savior. We come to understand the mind of God and the heart and compassion of God. All of that is really critical and building a life built on a solid foundation. But Jesus says that hearing is not enough. You and I need to put Jesus words into action. We need to live according to all that he says.
The book of James puts it this way: James 2:14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds?(A) Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.(B) 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?(C) 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
So it's one thing to have faith. It's another thing to put our faith into practice. When we do that, when we take what we believe, and we live according to it-the choices we make in our lives more and more reflect the wisdom and counsel of God's word.
And that's how we experience God's peace. That's how we experience God's joy.
So may you and I, all of us here, make the wise choice to both believe in God, on God's terms as revealed in the Bible, and to put it into practice. May we know a living faith that changes us, and that through us begins to change those around us as we testify of God’s great love. Amen.