By DAWN REED
Riding on the trolley, I noted the lush greenery that had been strategically planted along the road. I silently prayed, “Lord, if there is a lesson here, please show me.” I would be watching for it.
My co-workers and I enjoyed a day at the Biltmore last Saturday, courtesy of our boss. The breathtaking landscapes, the house itself, and all that the estate encompassed were marvelous to the eyes and mind. I had experienced it all before. This trip, I was searching for the lesson.
We trekked over 9,700 steps that day, but that wasn’t the lesson. It wasn’t in the massive banquet hall with ceilings that were seven feet tall, a ginormous dining table, and three fireplaces. There was a luxurious room where all the Vanderbilt babies were born. It held the best views of the land from French doors. No lesson there. From the billiard room, the music room, and the library to the indoor swimming pool, the lesson still hadn’t been revealed. It wasn’t even in the two weddings that were being set up on the grounds, though they were lovely.
The lesson of the Biltmore was found down in the basement.
When George Vanderbilt began the venture of building the Biltmore House in 1889, he planned for magnificence. Mr. Vanderbilt knew that a home this large, this wonderful…for it to last, would need a firm foundation. Far below the exquisite 250 rooms, massive foundation walls were built to hold every glorious feature in place. According to the Biltmore guide, it took almost two years to build the foundations and footings that extend down about 29 feet. (Full construction took six years and around 1,000 workers.)
Centuries before Mr. Vanderbilt lived, in approximately 960 BC, Solomon prepared to build the temple. David, his father, gave him inciteful advise. His words were not about the gold or silver to be used, but the foundational truths on which to build Solomon’s life. First Chronicles 28 enlightens us as father challenged son to walk with God: “So now I charge you in the sight of all Israel…and in the hearing of our God: Be careful to follow all the commands of the Lord your God…acknowledge the God of your father and serve Him with wholehearted devotion…If you seek him, He will be found by you.”
Not just empty words penned for a special day, David had lived them, clinging to the Lord, his Rock (Psalm 18:2, 18:31 and 46, 19:14, 28:1, 31:3, 42:9, 62:2, 6 and 7, 71:3-just to name a few).
Building a life on God is the firmest, wisest foundation. In Matthew 7:24-25, Jesus taught that everyone who hears His words and puts them into practice is like a wise man who builds his house on the rock. “The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.”
Is God my sure foundation? Is He yours? Are we building our lives on Him? If we are, when the rains come-and they will, when the creeks rise-and they will, and when the winds blow-you know they will, too…then we can stand firm. With. Him.
A strong foundation is crucial for a 250-room mansion, a temple, and every man, woman, boy and girl.