13. "The Wise and Foolish Builders"
The parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders emerges as a parable of wisdom. As it speaks to being a wise disciple of Jesus, its thrust is for us to “possess and practice wisdom."
This parable is located both in Luke and in Matthew 7:24–27. While Matthew’s parable apparently presents a waterless ravine with steep sides, which occasionally turned into a raging river after severe rains, Luke instead portrays a broad river. He also speaks of building a foundation for the house.
In Matthew, the Wise and Foolish Builders follows the Sermon on the Mount. In Luke, the parable succeeds the Sermon on the Plain. In both cases the parable asks us ponder what has been said previously and, in turn, to act on it.
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The Wise and Foolish Builders
— Luke 6:46–49
To Possess and Practice Wisdom
Having had careers as a home remodeler and building inspector, I found this parable extremely easy to understand (unlike last week's parable).
"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? 47I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."
At the base of any strong building lies a carefully planned and well-constructed foundation. While this concept is obvious to us, it's extraordinary to see how often people try to build their lives on little else than crumbling slabs of debris or rubble. In all aspects of life — career, family, and relationships — it seems as though we try to build a tower of strength without first making sure that we have a good foundation to build upon. For some reason, we assume that if we just keep adding bricks, the structure will grow stronger and we'll never need to address the core issue of " bedrock." So, when hard times come and raging rivers ensue, we have no solid rock on which to stand. The boulders that we've spent years precariously stacking one upon the other begin to tumble.
This construction notion often carries into the realm of our spiritual lives. The key to the parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders lies not only in the concept of choosing God as the foundation upon which to build our lives, but also in the effort required of us to ensure that the construction of the foundation itself is sturdy. God not only calls us to trust in Him — to build on Him — but He also calls us to seek Him. Finding God ensures a well-built foundation for our lives.
Luke's parable portrays the wise builder (a.k.a. a Hearty Boy) not only erecting a structure on a rock but also "digging down deep" so we can find this vital rock from which to build. Thus, the analogy emerges, directing us that it's necessary to dig deep and search for the rock upon which we are to build. We're to dig deep as we seek God as the foundation for our lives.
Primarily, we must choose Him as our foundation. Then we must expend the effort to "dig into His Word," endeavor to "seek His will," and "obey His commandments." We're to seek the heart and mind of God and allow each to direct our lives. To do this, we must search the Scriptures and understand the Gospels, in order to find out what His commandments are and what Jesus is like.
As each of us seeks God as our rock, when we have found Him we've discovered Him as our firm foundation. We're exhorted to be wise builders. Throughout our lives, this foundation, carefully constructed and faithfully maintained, will serve as a safe haven. God is the structural support that will carry us through continuing trials in our lives, all the way up to our living with one another, eternally with Christ.