Luke 6, 46-49
Something to read
And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?
Whosoever cometh to me, and heareth my sayings, and doeth them, I will show you to whom he is like:
He is like a man which built an house, and digged deep, and laid the foundation on a rock: and when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently upon that house, and could not shake it: for it was founded upon a rock.
But he that heareth, and doeth not, is like a man that without a foundation built an house upon the earth; against which the stream did beat vehemently, and immediately it fell; and the ruin of that house was great.
King James Version
‘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.’
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
You can feel the frustration out of which Jesus tells this familiar story. Perhaps we’re tempted to dwell upon the story and to miss the frustration. For the houses built with, and without, foundations are there to illustrate the point that is elusive enough to wind Jesus up.
People aren’t getting it. They are in love with the stories he is telling and the miracles he performs. But they are letting him, and the world he is offering, stay at arms’ length. His message is not going deep enough; transformed lives remain elusive even with Jesus in their midst.
It isn’t enough to hear the word from God. This word, voiced by Jesus, would lay hold of us if we let it. This word, carried to us through our Bibles, would transform our living if we truly let it. This word, brought to life amidst us by the Holy Spirit, would captivate and bless, judge and heal, restore and captivate us if we dare to let it become our foundation.
Jesus seeks us out and bids us follow him. He calls us to be friends to him and for each other; disciples and children of God. But following can be a shallow response when our daily living is not built upon real devotion to him. Hearing without doing makes faithfulness into a sham. Jesus does not want pretence. He comes to invite us to stop pretending and to begin to live.
And this matters, for the flood and storm are coming. They will come for his disciples as Jesus heads towards the cross and they fall away, except for the women. They will come for us as living grants us blessing and pain, gain and loss. Pretend faith cannot keep us safe. We need deep foundations.
Something to do
One way of giving our faith the sorts of foundations Jesus is speaking of here is to spend time with the Bible. Use today to think about your own routine of reading the Bible. Have you found the rhythm that will work for you yet?
If so, rejoice and carry on! If not, why not use today to discover what might help you. Have a go at putting Scripture Union, The Bible Reading Fellowship, or The Bible Society into a search engine and see what they have on offer.
Something to pray
In the midst of busy and stormy lives, dear God,
we pray for faith that is deeply rooted,
for obedience that is built upon secure foundations,
for hope that is firm,
for trust that is steadfast,
for lives that are offered in thankfulness and praise to you each day.
Forgive us the fleeting falsity of a faith that fails to turn your words into our actions.
Inspire in us a longing to be renewed through prayer and scripture, worship and service, contemplation and action.
In all we do this day may we build a life upon your deep foundations,
and help others to do so too.
Today's contributor is the Rev Neil Thorogood, Director of Pastoral Studies at Westminster College, Cambridge, and author of the Surefish.co.uk monthly prayers