In Matthew 7:24-27 Jesus shares a story to teach us the value of listening and doing. “Everybody who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise builder who built a house on bedrock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the wind blew and beat against that house. It didn’t fall because it was firmly set on bedrock. But everybody who hears these words of mine and doesn’t put them into practice will be like a fool who built a house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the wind blew and beat against that house. It fell and was completely destroyed.” (CEB)
Our lives, our spirits, are the “houses” and Jesus tells us that storms will come that will batter us. These may be in the form of great crises of health, loss of loved ones, loss of job or economic hardship. These storms may also be temptations to step away from God, to let our opinions become judgments against others or to settle for a faith that keeps us doing good works without being open to the challenges of becoming like Christ.
To Jesus, the wise person not only listens to what Jesus has said, but also puts them into practice. Jesus rested in God, becoming almost one with God through prayer, knowledge of scripture, contemplation and obedience. Wise persons will find that the storms that come will not destroy their lives. However, those who choose to listen and not let Jesus’ words impact their lives are very foolish. When storms come, their lives take quite a beating and may even fall completely apart.
We have choices in our faith journeys. Using Jesus’ image, we can quickly build up a house built on sand. On the other hand, we have the choice and the opportunity to build our houses on rock by nurturing a relationship with God through genuine worship, leaning into the messages of scripture, relying on God through all our moments of every day, praying from the heart and just resting in God. It takes time. It takes commitment. It means struggling with God’s will when it is not our own. It means times of waiting for God to reveal a message to us. It means great joy when we release ourselves into God’s hands.
Fully abandoning ourselves to God in order to experience the full joy of communion with Christ means letting God be in control. It means doing what we wouldn’t necessarily choose to do on one hand and on the other hand finding that at times we are just to be, not do. John Wesley expressed this abandonment to the will of God in his Covenant Prayer.
I am no longer my own, but yours. Put me to what you will, place me with whom you will. Put me to doing, put me to suffering. Let me be put to work for you or set aside for you, praised for you or criticized for you. Let me be full, let me be empty. Let me have all things, let me have nothing. I freely and fully surrender all things to your glory and service. And now, O wonderful and holy God, Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, you are mine, and I am yours. So be it. And the covenant which I have made on earth,Let it also be made in heaven. Amen.
Let us all work to build houses on the Rock, Jesus Christ, and abandon ourselves to the will of God.