February 11th, 2008

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The Wise Builder. Matt. 7:24-27

Monday, February 11th, 2008

Jesus was a carpenter. I can imagine that on rainy days some of the local craftspeople in the village of Nazareth gathered in the shop and shared stories. And I imagine that the accounts concerning both wise and foolish builders were included in the stories.

Jesus draws upon these to conclude the Sermon on the Mount. Earlier he had pictured the Christian life as a journey, then as a living product, and now he round the set of illustrations out with a picture of a set of builders.

The wise builder uses a solid rock for his foundation. I believe that he returned to this picture in the famous conversion between himself and Peter found in Matthew 16:13-20. Here Jesus declares that his church will be built on the solid rock of the acknowledgment that Jesus in the very son of God.

We might continue that the foolish builder uses Satanic sand for his foundation. It seems that almost every year we are reminded of he foolish builders when rains cause mud slides and multi-million dollar homes slide down hills in California and are crushed.

Stuff. Mt. 6:20-34

Monday, February 11th, 2008

Jesus continues to teach that God must be our focus in life. Culture teaches to focus on stuff–either on getting our needs met or on getting stuff and the attendant status, so that we can declare that we are more important than our neighbors. Here and on several other occasions Jesus devalued stuff. Certainly, he promises rewards, and he teaches that we can depend on God to provide for our needs. Stuff is nice and it is needed, to some extent. But it must not be allowed to become our god.

Like many Americans I have way to much stuff. I worry about what I will do with it all when I retire and move to a retirement home. I worry about how our children will dispose of it when we die. I really can’t make use of, or enjoy, most of my stuff.

Increasingly, I am learning about the joy of share, or giving away some of the stuff that I do not need, or do not use to others. This is good, but am I running the risk of turning others into stuff “junkies” like myself.

The comments by Jesus about nature here are powerful ones. God has truly made a beautiful world. The beauty and the bounty of nature is inspiring.

Honestly, I wonder about those who do starve and do not have enough. Does this disprove what Jesus teaches here? I think not. The sins of mankind are the root cause of those times when there is not adequate amounts of food and clothing for everyone. The shortfalls that might seem to raise a question about what Jesus says here cannot be blamed on God.

So, back to the main point, Madison Ave. not withstanding, we need to get over focusing on stuff and just trust in a faithful God.