Living out what we learn.


I read the end of Matthew 7 the other day. You may know it. It’s one of the stories Jesus tells, about a wise man who builds on rock and a foolish man who builds on sand.

When I was a little kid, we sang one of those kid songs with kid motions. We built the house fist over fist. We made the rains come down and the flood go up.It was a fun song.

And the other day, I realized that it was wrong. Oh, the wise and the foolish parts were right. But the last verse goes like this (with the repetition removed):

“So, build your house on the Lord Jesus Christ
And the blessings will come down

Oh, the blessings come down
As your prayers go up”

That not what Jesus said.

What he said was more like this:

If you listen to all the stuff I just said, really hard stuff, and you do what I said, you will face storms, but you will have strength. If you listen and then you walk away from here and you don’t do what I say, but you build structures on your own choices and decisions, you are going to face storms and you are going to have nothing.

It’s not a metaphor about prayer or about blessing or about formulas. It’s a metaphor about learning a wise way to live.

At the time, the teachings Jesus offered about caring and worry and serving and commitment were almost as counter his culture as they are counter our culture. They were as counter self-interest then as they are now. They were as controversial with religious people then as they are likely to be now.

But Jesus is counter every culture but the culture of the kingdom of God.

First published in 2018.