The strongest foundation for life-long love

Posted Jun 3, 2022

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Daily Scripture

FRIDAY 6.3.22 Matthew 7:24-29

24 “Everybody who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise builder who built a house on bedrock. 25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the wind blew and beat against that house. It didn’t fall because it was firmly set on bedrock. 26 But everybody who hears these words of mine and doesn’t put them into practice will be like a fool who built a house on sand. 27 The rain fell, the floods came, and the wind blew and beat against that house. It fell and was completely destroyed.”

28 When Jesus finished these words, the crowds were amazed at his teaching 29 because he was teaching them like someone with authority and not like their legal experts.

Reflection Questions

Jesus ended his Sermon on the Mount with this image of two builders. They both built houses during the dry season, when the wadis of Palestine, like arroyos in the American Southwest, looked sandy, safe and harmless. When the storms came, the flash flood washed the house built on sand away. The wise person thought ahead, and built a house on a foundation that would endure.

  • Some marriages (or other relationships) look fine. Then something (illness, job loss, a bad choice, even an ongoing attitude of contempt or condemnation—cf. Matthew 7:1-6) shakes and shatters the relationship, at times beyond repair. It will rain in your life sooner or later, and that will affect any relationship partner as well as you. What are you doing daily to grow the solid character and build the quality of relationships you need to weather life’s storms?
  • “Other Jewish teachers told a similar parable…in their story, the foundational rock in their parables was the Torah, God’s law (Abot de Rabbi Nathan 24A). Here Jesus’ teaching holds the same role as God’s message in the traditional parable.” * Jesus made his teaching central to knowing God (teaching “with authority”—Matthew 7:29). How did that guide his followers over time to rethink parts of the Bible (e.g. slavery) that did not fit his teaching about God’s character?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank you for loving me durably, dependably, forever. Guide me in building my life on your kingdom’s principles, so my life and relationships can withstand any earthly storm. Amen.


* HarperCollins Christian Publishing. NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, eBook: Bringing to Life the Ancient World of Scripture (Kindle Locations 219378-219380). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

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Leah Swank-Miller

Leah Swank-Miller

Leah Swank-Miller is Director of Student Ministries at Resurrection Overland Park. A Kansas native, she has been a professional actress for the past 15 years, and she loves to see the vastness of God’s creation through theatre and the arts. Leah is pursuing an M.Div. from Saint Paul School of Theology. Leah, Brian, and their two children love to play tennis, golf, soccer, and board games.

Growing up I used to sing a song in Sunday school. The verse went something like this: “The foolish man built his house upon the sand, the foolish man built his house upon the sand, the foolish man built his house upon the sand and the rains came tumbling down.”

Ultimately it would end with the fate of this foolish man’s house going “SPLAT!” The next verse would introduce the wise man who built his house on the rock, and as the rains came tumbling down his house stood firm. It was fun doing the hand gestures, and it has stuck with me lo these past 40 years. This sweet Sunday school song reaffirmed Jesus’ desire for us to put His words into practice, building a good foundation for a lifetime.

Not until recently did I understand the gravity of this practice in a relationship or marriage. Whether you are married or not, the imagery of life’s crazy storms beating down on the foundation of your relationships feels relatable. We build new relationships on grounds that seem firm, having no clue what life has in store down the road.

My husband and I have been married since 2006. We weathered moves from New York to Kansas City, new jobs and career changes, and children being born, but nothing quite prepared us for the year 2013. Within the span of a few months our second child was born, my husband lost his job, and his father passed away quickly from undiagnosed cancer. It was all so sudden--highs and lows just like that. It felt like an oddly humid Kansas spring day where the sky turns shades of green, the air is still, and out of nowhere winds come rushing in. A tornado that blasts through your neighborhood and can uproot everything you once held dear. That’s what it felt like for us, our firm foundation battered by heartache. And yet 2013 was also the time we discovered the Church of The Resurrection.

We were invited by friends of ours to their child’s baptism. They happened to be a gay couple, and we were inspired by the fact that there was a church community that would not only welcome this family but celebrate their children as well. We visited the Downtown location with our stormy-weather shaken foundation, and what we found was a haven from the storm. We found hope in the eye of the tornado. We found a place to build our foundation stronger by putting into practice Jesus' words to love God with all our hearts and love our neighbor as ourselves.

It hasn’t been an easy road building a stronger foundation from 2013 till now. But I’m reminded that our marriage could have easily gone “SPLAT!” (as the song goes) amid our heartache and turmoil, but instead, it stood firm. And that is due in great part to the foundation we found in our faith here at Church of the Resurrection. Fast forward almost 10 years later and I have the privilege of being the Student Ministries Director at our Overland Park location. Our kids are active in KidsCor and rezlife, and we go deeper together as we participate in the many opportunities for classes and connections at church.

This isn’t to say we haven’t had some major storms in the past 10 years. And there were certainly times we asked if our foundation was about to go “SPLAT!”. But we realized in Christ Jesus we have the tools and the solid foundation to weather the storm as the “rain comes tumbling down.”

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