Built to Last by Ed Dunn
Matthew 7:24-25 (NIV) – “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock…”
As we’ve all been faced with the fear and uncertainty caused by recent events, and many of our normal rhythms and routines of life have been forced to change, at least for the time-being, I’ve been reflecting on a favorite teaching Jesus offered for just such a time as this.
In this passage, Jesus presents the parable of the wise and foolish builders. In his teaching, Jesus sets up a clear contrast between a sound and lasting approach to “life construction” and one that simply will not stand the test of time. Despite how either approach may be employed, the storms of life, the “rain that came down, the streams that rose, and the winds that blew and beat against the house” do still seem to come. That’s just life. Although we rarely expect it, tragic and challenging times and events are a hallmark of our human experience. Whether we like it or not, we all must face these times and events together.
I’ve spent most of my career working in the financial services world. For over twenty years, I’ve helped people work to build financial wealth and prepare for lifetime events such as retirement. To be sure, watching what has happened in the financial markets in such a short period of time has been, in a few words, “truly breath-taking.” So much wealth in the form of financial net worth has simply vanished in what’s felt like a moment’s notice. The potential to feel fear and uncertainty in the face of such challenge is only natural.
But when I’m feeling this way, I reflect on what Jesus said in this parable. What was Jesus offering a world that all-too-often places far-too-much trust in financial wealth and other “tangible” physical constructions? As I read it, Jesus was offering a clear reminder. He was offering the foundation and foothold, the rock, on which to weather the storms of life. Jesus was offering himself.
Jesus was inviting us to remember the truth of our own spiritual reality in him. He was giving us, not only the practical wisdom of his words within the parable, but also a reminder of his indwelling life within us. We live in him and he lives in us. Jesus has always been our foundation and foothold. He has always been our rock. And, Jesus is our true spiritual reality and home. No matter what we may face in life, he is both with us and within us. Remembering this in the face of tragic and challenging times and events is our comfort. In him and with him, we are built to last.
—Ed Dunn is a member of the Board of Directors of Plain Truth Ministries