October 19, 2020 • Life for Leaders
Scripture – Luke 6:46-49 (NRSV)
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you? I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. That one is like a man building a house, who dug deeply and laid the foundation on rock; when a flood arose, the river burst against that house but could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not act is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the river burst against it, immediately it fell, and great was the ruin of that house.”
We want to build our lives so that they really matter, so that they can withstand difficult trials, so that they are solid over the long haul. Jesus says that the person who hears and does his teaching will have a trustworthy foundation for life. The one who hears but does not put into practice what Jesus teaches is building their house without a firm foundation. So, what kind of foundation undergirds your life?
Today’s devotion is part of the series Following Jesus Today.
When I was a boy, my parents and grandparents bought a comfortable cabin in the mountains of Southern California. It became our family’s weekend retreat, a place to get away from the traffic, smog, and busyness of L.A.
Though we enjoyed the cabin, I remember my grandfather (a civil engineer by profession) often complaining that it was not well built. He and I spent many hours firming up the structure with extra bolts, concrete pads, and shear walls. Even so, we’d often find distressing cracks in the foundation or walls.
Years later, after my parents and grandparents had died, our family decided to sell the cabin. We found an eager buyer who offered a fair price. As a part of the sale, she hired an inspector to check out the house. Because the inspector was concerned about some of the same things that had bothered my grandfather years earlier, he brought out a foundation expert. That person discovered that half of the cabin was built on a foundation completely lacking any structural steel. All ordinary concrete foundations are filled with plenty of steel, which keeps them from breaking up over time. We were lucky that our cabin was still standing, even after a few California earthquakes, given its insufficient foundation.
It ended up costing a pile of money to get the foundation fixed. Basically, a crew had to jack up the house and replace half of the foundation with a new one. Frankly, I’m glad my grandfather wasn’t around to witness this . . . and pay for it.
Now, if Jesus had been around at this time, he might well have said, “See! That’s exactly what I was talking about. If you build a house without a decent foundation, it’s going to have lots of problems. Sooner or later, it will collapse.”
Of course Jesus wasn’t giving an engineering lesson in Luke 6:46-49. He was concerned with how his disciples live our lives, how we can build lives that are solid and lasting. To do this, we need a solid foundation, just like a well-built house. And what is this foundation? According to Jesus, it’s hearing his words and acting on them (Luke 6:47). Those who acknowledge him as Lord but don’t actually follow him as Lord of their actions are building foundation-less lives. Before long, we who do this will find that our lives collapse into ruin, unless we are able to do the kind of major foundation repair that ultimately saved my family’s cabin.
Tomorrow I’d like to think with you a little more about how we can do what Jesus says in this passage, putting his words into practice. In the meanwhile, let me encourage you to reflect on whether or not you are building your house on the solid foundation of obedience to the teaching of Jesus.
So, are you building your house on the solid foundation of obedience to the teaching of Jesus?
Can you think of specific times you have chosen to obey Jesus, even when it was difficult or counter-intuitive?
What barriers keep you from heading and doing the words of Jesus?
What helps you to overcome those barriers?
Do something today in conscious obedience to Jesus. If you don’t know what that might be, ask the Lord to make it clear as you go through your day. Today you can build your life on the solid foundation of obedience to the word of Jesus.
Lord Jesus, thank you for the vivid illustration of housebuilding and foundations. You encourage us to be honest about how we’re building our lives. Show us, Lord, whether we’re building on obedience to your word. Help us to be honest with ourselves and with you.
And then, by your Spirit, give us a renewed desire to hear and to do your word. Help us to obey you in every context of life, in our work and in our friendships, in our family and in our neighborhood, in our church and in our citizenship. By your grace, may we build our “house” on the rock of your word. Amen.
Sign up to receive a Life for Leaders devotional each day in your inbox. It’s free to subscribe and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Commentary on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Jesus Calls People at Work (Luke 5:1-11; 27-32)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.