Across the Pastor’s Desk by Matt Hundley
In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “…everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24 NIV) He goes on to explain that when something (or someone) is built upon a solid foundation, they can withstand the storms of life because they have been built on a strong, solid foundation. I have studied that passage for years, but recently we have witnessed a real-life example of this. The condo collapse in Surfside, Florida, is a stark reminder of the devastation that comes when our foundation is compromised. The fall is great and the fallout reaches far and wide for everyone involved. I pray for those who have lost friends and family in this tragedy, and I hope you will as well.
In times of grief and loss we are given the chance to evaluate, learn and hopefully grow in ways that benefit us and those around us. Jesus’ words carry added significance in the light of loss and destruction we see daily on the news coming out of Florida. His invitation tells us that “everyone” who hears his words and “puts them into practice” will be building on a “rock” (solid foundation).
Who or what are you listening to? As a child of the ’80s I grew up on a steady diet of music and movies steeped with attitudes and actions that did not practice Jesus’ words. Those things shaped my thinking in a lot of ways that were not helpful to me or those around me. Upon getting married and becoming a father, I began to re-engage with Jesus and his words in the Bible. I read in John 6:28-29 that when folks asked Jesus what they must do to do the works God requires? His response was, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.” Jesus!
Through the years I have found that submitting my ways to his ways always establishes my life upon a rock-solid foundation. It is rarely easy, but the more I yield to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit and seek to trust in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, the more desire I have to live that way daily. So, who are you listening too? What attitudes are shaping your life? For almost 40 years the foundation of the Surfside Condos seemed adequate, but eventually the truth was revealed. Scripture calls us to repent (literally, change the way we think) and believe the Good News (that Jesus has done everything necessary for our forgiveness and salvation, so trust him). In light of all this I call you, my neighbors, to trust Jesus and put his words into practice. You will find your life built upon the Rock.
Matt Hundley is pastor of Albert Lea Vineyard Church.