Luke 6:43-49 (The Message)
If you work the words into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who dug deep and laid the foundation of his house on bedrock. When the river burst its banks and crashed against the house, nothing could shake it; it was built to last. But if you just use my words in Bible studies and don’t work them into your life, you are like a dumb carpenter who built a house but skipped the foundation. When the swollen river came crashing in, it collapsed like a house of cards. It was a total loss.
This parable comes at the end of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (this is one of his first sermons which is, unsurprisingly, given on a hill). Before he gives the illustration of the wise and foolish builders, a lesson I remember being taught numerous times as a child but not fully grasping, Jesus says:
You don’t get wormy apples off a healthy tree, nor good apples of a diseased tree. The health of the apple tells the health of the tree. You must begin with your own life-giving lives. It’s who you are, not what you say and do, that counts. Your true being brims over into true words and deeds. ‘Why are you so polite with me, always saying ‘Yes, sir,’ and ‘That’s right, sir,’ but never doing a thing I tell you? These words I speak to you are not mere additions to your life, homeowner improvements to your standard of living. They are foundation words, words to build a life on.
Luke 6:43-47 (The Message)
After saying this, Jesus then illustrates his point with a very visual story, (the parable we’re looking at this week). The tale is one some members of the audience, craftsmen and builders, would have easily related to. It is a very fitting way for Jesus to finish his sermon, to encourage the listener to put what has been said into practice.
Jesus is a leader who doesn’t only speak profound words and teaches insightful tales but one who acts and lives out love, with miracles being only a small part of it. However, just as Jesus revealed who he was through what he said and what he did he knew this shouldn’t be the core of who he was. What was important was that he knew his identity, ‘it’s who you are’, and it was from that core of understanding that everything else flowed out. Who are we? Christ was God and was the Son of God. Are we for Christ and are we his followers? If we know, deep down in our hearts we are for God and that we are His children, that we are blessed by God and loved by Him then our actions and words will reveal this. We don’t need to worry about saying or doing the correct thing when we’ve focussed on building our foundations on Jesus’ words: solid words that speak of grace, love, acceptance and servitude.
True, we’ll slip up and make mistakes. But then what do we do with those mistakes? Do we allow them make our identity or do we refocus on Christ and remember who we are?
“Scripture taken from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.”