Should'a Known Better
I was reading this morning in Luke (yes! still in Luke!) and I stopped for a bit on the passage about building the house on the rock or the sand. Here it is:
“So why do you keep calling me ‘Lord, Lord!’ when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.”
I had previously looked at the passage pretty simply. Build a house on rock - good. Build on sand - bad. Pretty obvious.
But today it occurred to me for the first time that the verse is a little deeper than that. It isn't talking about where you build your house at all, really. It is talking about what your life will be like if you KNOW the Lord, CALL him Lord, but don't listen to what He tells you to do.
Which is interesting, because it means that the consequences of a person's actions who KNOWS the Lord, and CALLS him Lord, but doesn't listen to Him, are actually potentially WORSE than if you did the same actions and didn't know Him at all.
Think about it. The whole point of the passage is summed up in the first line, "Why do you keep calling me 'Lord, Lord!' when you don't do what I say?" Jesus isn't talking here to people who don't know him. He's talking to people who know him, and call him Lord. Which means that they are acknowledging His leadership and authority in the world. They call Him Lord, but then don't do what He says. For THOSE people, their lives will be like a house built on the sand. When the floods come, they will be left in ruins.
Almost a decade ago, my husband and I built a house. We were so completely ignorant of how difficult that was going to be. We made SO many mistakes along the way. Our basement floods. Our insulation was insufficient so our pipes froze. Our deck stairs don't reach the ground. Our floors are warped. Our chimney leaks. I could go on all day long here.
But each time someone came along and told us that we should be doing something differently, we quickly adjusted our plans to include this new information. We changed our schedules. We changed our building plans. We rolled up our sleeves and got dirty, again. We re-did things we had done incorrectly. And in the end, we got a lovely, habitable, welcoming home.
And amazingly, because we were SO out of our depth while building, and so completely clueless, our friends and neighbors were moved with compassion and came alongside to help us. They put on our roof. Corrected our insulation issues. Helped us regrade our lawn to keep water away from the basement. Re-wired our electric.
I wonder now if they would have been quite so eager to help if we had been like the people who were talking with Jesus that day. If we asked them for advice, and claimed to respect their positions and experience, and then went our own way and ignored them completely. If Wayne and I had retreated back to our house with a smug, we-know-better, we-don't-have-to-listen-to-you attitude, would they have been so quick to come over and help?
It's possible. But not as likely. Most of the time, when we offer our help or advice and it is spurned or refused, we throw up our hands and walk away.
Without the help and expertise of our friends, this little house wouldn't be standing today. We would have been a perfect example of what happens when you hear the word, but don't act on it.
I wish I took that same attitude to more areas of my life. How many times I make mistakes and errors and afterwards think, "Man, I knew better than to do that." I had been warned, or cautioned, and I didn't heed.
I think that Jesus makes it clear that for those of us who KNOW and HEAR and don't obey, we run the risk of the utter destruction of the man who built his house upon the sand. It won't be a case of our shrugging our shoulders and saying, "Should'a known better." It will be the cries of the desolate, weeping, "Why didn't we listen to you, Jesus?"
I am reviewing all the things I heard Jesus whisper to my Spirit just this week; the things I didn't obey. Like when He told me to turn off the TV show that was filling my head with rubbish. Like when He asked me to come spend time with Him and I kept on doing what I was doing. Like when He told me to repent for the stupid joke I told my group of girlfriends, and I was too embarrassed to do it. Like when He told me I should pray for my upset friend, and I let the moment pass me by. (And that's just since Monday!)
I call Him Lord! Lord!, and I hear His voice and don't obey.
Father, forgive me. Come alongside me and help me re-build my leaky, rickety house upon the rock and not the sand. Help me to walk in each thing I hear You say, that I might have a house with firm foundations, that stands when the storms come. That I might be a house that stands not just for me, but as a source of shelter to those around me.