Building sand castles is a fun activity, but we do not expect them to last.
My family and I recently visited Southbourne Beach in Bournemouth, England. We had a great time relaxing in the sunshine on the sand, going in the sea, and of course – building sand castles. Like most children, my children enjoy building sand castles – even if they do let me do most of the work! Building sand castles is a fun activity, but we do not expect them to last. We know full well, that if we were to return to the beach the next day, the sand castles that we had built would be gone. Someone could spend hours building an elaborate sand castle, but if they intended it to be anything other than a fun exercise to undertake, all their efforts would be futile. No matter how much effort they put into their sand castle, it would be gone the next day.
They are building houses that they intend to last.
Of course all of this is obvious – people know full well that sand castles do not last and we do not expect them to. Jesus spoke of something similar in His parable about the wise and the foolish builders in Matthew chapter 7. In this parable, Jesus tells of two men who set out to build a home for themselves. This was a serious endeavour, they were building houses that they intended to last and sure enough, unlike with sand castles, those houses were still there the next day. Jesus doesn’t specify any time period, but if nothing major had happened, both houses would still have been there the next week, the next month and even the next year.
The wise man had built his house on a rock.
But one day a fierce storm came and the difference between the two houses suddenly became extremely relevant. The wise man had built his house on a rock, which provided a solid, strong, immovable foundation in the midst of the storm. So, after the storm has passed, the wise man could go out into the sunshine and relax. However things did not turn out so well for the foolish man. Despite the fact that the foolish man’s house was built using bricks and mortar, just like the wise man’s house, it had one major flaw. The foolish man had built his house on a foundation of sand and so when the storm came, it only lasted a little longer than a sand castle, before the house came crashing down.
Sooner or later it will come crashing down.
Jesus explained that the point to His story was that when we listen to His words and then put them into practice, when we take what God says seriously enough to actually live by it, then we are like the wise man who built his house on the rock. But anyone who hears the words of Jesus, who listens to sermons being preached, who reads their Bible, but fails to actually put it into practice, will be like the foolish man. You can work hard and earn a lot of money, or you can work hard and not earn a lot of money – depending on your job. But ultimately if you ignore God’s ways of doing things, if you do not build your life on the solid foundation of the Word of God, then whatever effort you put into your life is irrelevant. You can build your life as an elaborate structure, looking down on the person who lives only for the moment, building nothing of value – just one sand castle after another. But when the storms of life come, you will find that your impressive looking life is built on the same foundation as a sand castle – sand! Which means that sooner or later it will come crashing down. On the other hand, if you believe in God’s promises and determine to make the Bible the final authority in your life, even if what it says seems to be illogical, your life will be built on a immovable foundation. You may face the same storms as everyone else, but you will remain unshaken. You can go through the storm and come out the other side completely unfazed, because you have faith that God will supply all your needs, that by Jesus’ stripes you were healed, or whatever Biblical promise applies to your situation.
For more on this topic I believe that the blog post I have linked below from Lighthouse Devotions perfectly compliments what I have written here. It is called, ‘Leaning Towers‘.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
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