46“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I tell you? 47I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. 48That 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. 49But 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.”
There was a crowd gathered to hear Jesus – they agreed with all he said and they called him “Lord”, but when the sermon was over they went home and continued their lives. They hated their neighbor, and especially their enemies, and felt quite justified in doing so; they were unmerciful, saying the guilty deserved to be punished, hoping they would burn – well, you know. They were selfish, not sharing with the needy, but amassing as much wealth as they could. This is what they were doing – is this what we do?
Jesus said the person who comes to him, and actually listens to what he says, and lives by what he teaches, has a solid foundation. That person lives by Jesus’ words, and is like a person who built his house on a rock, with a solid foundation. When a hurricane comes, that house stands. But the one who hears his words, but does not live them out, is like one who builds his house on the beach, without a foundation. When the hurricane comes, that house falls – and great is its ruin.
We might think of that hurricane as the hard times of our lives; we all face storms in life. If we live with the love of Christ filling our hearts (Jesus said the two greatest commandments were to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength; and to love our neighbor as ourselves.), then we can withstand the storms. We have faith; we trust God to get us through, and we are a part of a loving community that supports us through it, that gives us faith when ours flags. But – if we build our lives, our very faith, on anger, fear, judgment, and hate, on having to be right – if that is our fundamental truth – then when the storm comes, great will be our ruin! Because that sort of faith cannot stand up to the ravages of life’s storms.