Summary: Why are we inclined to take short cuts with our spiritual life? How can we build so that when the storms rage we can stand firmly and not go under?

Iliff and Saltillo UM church

September 11, 2005

Dr. Marilyn S. Murphree

“Why Do We Build On Sand?”

Matthew 7:24-29

INTRODUCTION: Jesus was talking with all kinds of people during his ministry. Some were sincerely wanting to know the truth and to do it and others were just wanting to know it but not do anything about it. Many just wanted to hear it so they could criticize. Even though some of the people “seemed” to be religious, Jesus knew that they were not going to be genuine disciples of his.

In verse 21 he tells them, “not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven but only he who DOES the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Jesus wanted the people who heard him to take his Words to heart. He illustrated his teaching with a story about two builders. Let’s see how these truths apply to our lives today and what God is telling us to do this week about our “house” or our life.

1. Each House LOOKS Acceptable in Good Weather: Have you ever said, “That person doesn’t go to church or give any thought to God and he seems to get along as well as I do.” I’ve said that statement and probably some of you have too. Jesus talked about two builders who put up a house. When the sun was shining, they probably looked pretty similar on the outside. Maybe from all indications you know people who seem to be getting along fine. They have no major problems, good job, no financial concern, no problems in their family, seem happy and are living the “good life.” There is, however, no time for God. Other priorities take up all their free time. Weekends are spent doing other things. Don’t really think about God. Oh yes, “I BELIEVE in God, I’m a basically GOOD person. I HEAR but don’t have time to do anything about it. Maybe will get around to it some day.”

Each house, or each life, looks pretty similar to the casual observer. It’s GOOD weather. The roof doesn’t leak in good weather. The basement doesn’t flood in good weather. The walls stand with no problems in good weather.

So does it really matter how we build our lives? Does it really matter if we show up for church? Does it really matter if we receive Jesus into our life? Many people today think it is optional. It is more of an incidental ADDITION to your life--like adding on a deck or some other homeowner improvements to your standard of living.

Maybe it is not necessary to pray or find out what the Bible says. Maybe it is no longer all that important to go to Sunday school. We say, “After all, you know times have changed.”

We look at people and say, “They’re getting along OK. I don’t think I need to worry about my life either. I’ll just slide by.” Do you ever think this way? I think sometimes we do.

Retiring Carpenter

An elderly carpenter was ready to retire. He told his employer-contractor of his plans to leave the house building business and live a more leisurely life with his wife enjoying his extended family. He would miss the paycheck, but he needed to retire. They could get by.

The contractor was sorry to see his good worker go and asked if he could build just one more house as a personal favor. The carpenter said yes, but in time it was easy to see that his heart was not in his work. He resorted to shoddy workmanship and used inferior materials. It was an unfortunate way to end his career. When the carpenter finished his work and the builder came to inspect the house, the contractor handed the front-door key to the carpenter.

"This is your house," he said, "my gift to you." What a shock! What a shame! If he had only known he was building his own house, he would have done it all so differently. Now he had to live in the home he had built none too well.

So it is with us. We build our lives in a distracted way, reacting rather than acting, willing to put up less than the best. At important points we do not give the job our best effort. Then with a shock we look at the situation we have created and find that we are now living in the house we have built. If we had realized that we would have done it differently. Think of yourself as the carpenter. Think about your house. Each day you hammer a nail, place a board, or erect a wall. Build wisely. It is the only life you will ever build. Even if you live it for only one day more, that day deserves to be lived graciously and with dignity.

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Jay Robison

commented on Jun 7, 2007

Thank you Marilyn. You hit the nail on the head. This is a familiar passage that is often overlooked. You brought some fresh ideas. Thank You.

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