Sally from the ICE Primary Team here!
This Christmas, I received a very unexpected present – I was given a Nintendo Switch! The generosity of the gift was completely overwhelming and I’ve appreciated it even more since, as it’s helped me to stay connected to the people I love over lockdown. And how? Through playing Minecraft!
Have you ever played Minecraft? What’s your favourite part of the game?
I’ve spent the last month exploring this game online with my fiancé – we’ve fought off monsters, gone digging for diamonds and hatched so many chickens they’re threatening to take over the place! But our big goal is to make a spectacular castle.
It’s been going well – we’ve got rooms for everything, we’ve got a stained glass window and we’ve even attracted a pet cat. But just a few days ago, disaster struck. I was digging up a basement when all of a sudden I knocked down a piece of wall and struck water! Before I knew it, the basement was full of the lake next door and my character was bobbing around looking sorry for herself with a big mess to clean up.
This moment reminded me of a story that Jesus told. He spoke of builders too (though not of the Minecraft variety). This is what he said:
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.
But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.
The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”
Matthew 7:24 – 27
We hadn’t chosen our castle’s foundation very well – we built right next to water and so the whole thing got flooded out. We certainly felt pretty foolish…
Jesus wasn’t talking about building sites though, he was really talking about our lives. This story asks us the question: What are the foundations that our lives rest upon? Have we chosen to build on something solid that will keep us strong even when the worst times come? Or have we put our trust in things that can’t hold us up and collapse when challenges arise?
Jesus tells us that his words are a strong foundation that we can depend on – when we put them into practice it’s like digging down into solid rock. Even a storm can’t budge that building and it will continue to stand whatever comes.
I don’t know about you but I want to build my life on a foundation like that. We’ve seen all too easily these past few months that storms do come in lots of shapes and sizes. So quickly, everything can change and even things that we thought were unbudgeable can expose their cracks and fall apart. Wealth, popularity, even our achievements can fail us but Jesus says that his words are steadfast and certain – they will always be a hope we can hold on to, whatever comes.
Christians throughout history have experienced this, Christians like one of my biggest heroes, George Muller, who said:
‘In the greatest difficulties, in the heaviest trials, in the deepest poverty and necessities, He has never failed me; but because I was enabled by His grace to trust Him He has always appeared for my help.’
In every trial, he looked to God because God was his foundation and if you read about his amazing life, you’ll see that God never let him down.
Lockdown is a good time to reflect on what our foundations are because so much of what distracts us has been stripped away. I don’t know about you but I always thought that if I had more time I would get really good habits, spend much more time talking with God, become better at reading my Bible. But when I found I had more time, I discovered I hadn’t changed. You see, it wasn’t the busyness of every day that was stopping me from doing these things, it was my heart – the choices I was making in what to build each day upon. Even though I’ve been a Christian for a long time, I’m still learning to choose to build on Jesus’ words every day – it’s the journey he invites us on when we decide to follow him. And what I find very encouraging is that Jesus promises to help us in this journey. As his disciple John wrote:
We can come to God with no doubts. This means that when we ask God for things (and those things agree with what God wants for us), God cares about what we say. He listens to us every time we ask him. So we know that he gives us whatever we ask from him.’
1 John: 14-15
Asking Jesus to help me build my foundations on his words is definitely going to be my prayer this week – how about you?