The Two Builders

Reading: Matthew 7 v 24-27

The religious leaders did not want to listen to Jesus. They were very strict about keeping the Law of Moses and the many rules and regulations of their own that they had added to it and they had their own ideas about God and believed that they knew how to please Him. They were proud, self-righteous people who thought they were better than others, and they were not at all loving or forgiving.

Jesus, however, taught that what we think of and how we act towards others is very important. When the religious leaders refused to let him speak in the synagogues, Jesus preached in the open air to the people who listened to him. One day, as they sat on the hillside, Jesus taught his disciples the wonderful lessons of what we now know as the Sermon on the Mount.

He spoke of God's goodness to all - how He sends sun and rain on everyone and not just to those who deserve it. He taught that God wants people to be right on the inside and not just on the outside where others can see. He spoke of how God will be with those who love Him and want to please Him. Real happiness is obtained by being kind and thoughtful towards other - not from pushing and grabbing for oneself. Above all, God must be put first in a man's life …

When Jesus preached he often told the people stories, which had a special meaning or lesson in them to make people think for themselves. These stories were called parables and Jesus finished his sermon on the mount with a parable about two builders.

Jesus told the story of two men who each decided to build a house. As you may know, it is very important that a building must have a strong base, or foundation; otherwise it will eventually fall down. The first man chose his site carefully and then dug down deep to solid rock. On the hard, solid rock he built his house.

The other man, however, did not stop to think about foundations - perhaps he was in too much of a hurry. He quickly built his house but the ground underneath was soft and sandy.

When the weather was fine, all was well. But one night a violent storm arose. Gale-force winds blew around the houses and rain lashed down from the sky. Rivers overflowed and the ground beneath and around the two houses was soon flooded.

What do you think happened? Yes, the house that was built on the solid rock stood firm. Nothing could sweep it away. But the house on the sand began to crumble and then suddenly collapsed altogether with a loud crash.

The people listening to Jesus enjoyed the story but Jesus was also giving them a message. The story had a meaning. "My teachings," said Jesus "are like the solid rock. They will never be washed away. If you listen to them and obey them, you will be like the man who built his house upon the rock. When trouble comes in your life you will be able to stand firm and cope with them. But if you take no notice of what I say, then you will be like the foolish builder who built his house upon the sand. When trouble and difficulties arise in your life you will not be able to withstand them, but will be washed away with them."

How important it is then for us to listen to what Jesus has to say!

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