“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’
Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers.’ “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!” Now when Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Build on rock or build on sand. I get it. There’s a choice we must make, whether to follow the Lord’s way, or the worldly way of sin, greed, self-absorption, and all those other little demons that entice me. But here’s the problem, Jesus. Of course I want to build on rock, and in many ways I do just that. But your imagery makes it sound deceptively simple, as if we will only have to make that sand or rock choice once in a lifetime, and then never have to worry about it again. But I feel like I must make that choice a lot. Almost every day I feel the subtle tug to build (or at least vacation for a while) on the sands of greed, self-absorption, meanness or dozens more demons.
Do you have your own characteristic, ongoing moments of temptation to build on sand?
—Chris Lowney is author of various books. His most recent is Make Today Matter: 10 Habits for a Better Life (and World) published by Loyola Press.
Lord, help me to be a wiser builder, every day of my life. When I’m tempted to build something on the sands of temptation, remind me that I want to dwell on the solid rock that is following you.