For tonight’s Back-to-School inspiration, I’m going to start with an old Sunday school favorite.
Play a few seconds of “The Wise Man Built His House upon the Rock”.
You all know how it goes. About a month ago, after a lot of praying to God and asking for what Scripture He wanted me to share with you tonight, He pointed me back to this well-known parable that Jesus shared at the end of the Sermon on the Mount. As the events of the last few weeks have unfolded in Houston and Florida with the hurricanes, I know see why God had me meditating on the passage about the Wise Man and the Foolish Man. We have an amazing and dramatic object lesson happening right in our midst.
The beginning of the passage is up on the screen. “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24
We know that it then goes on to talk about the foolish man who builds his house on the sand and what happens to each when the storms come. What I hope to do tonight is apply this parable in some very practical ways to your homeschools. I want you to have a really successful school year. As Christian homeschoolers, we know that our jobs are so much more than just being educators. We are our children’s disciplers. The health of our homeschools is directly related to the health of our homes. There is no “right” curriculum that is going to do nearly as much to help your child grow and flourish as a healthy home.
If I were to ask you to describe your house to me, you would most likely tell me about the location, the color, the design, the square footage, the size of the lot, and the number of bedrooms. But you probably wouldn’t tell me about the foundation. You might not even know much about your foundation. Yet, as we have seen from the hurricanes, the foundation of your house makes all the difference. This is true not only of your house; it is also true of your life.
So what does it mean to build your house on solid rock?
In the same way, we can hear all of Jesus’ words and even have it memorized, but if we don’t do what He says, we aren’t building the right foundation. We can know that it is wrong to lie, but if we take our 13 year old to the movies and have them say they are 12 to get the child’s discount, we are not obeying God’s word and very likely, our child lies to us regularly about things like getting their schoolwork done. We can know that the Lord calls us to self-control and to use our speech to edify and build up others, but when our child disobeys for the 10th time and we lose our patience and lash out in anger, we are not obeying God’s word and very likely our child is being disrespectful back to us as well. When we’ve been the victim of gossip or slander and we react with the same thing trying to take revenge instead of being forgiving, we are not obeying God’s Word and we see our children starting to treat people the same way. However, obeying God’s Word will strengthen your foundation.
This is so critical because the parable goes on to say in verse 25,“And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” It’s important to note that Jesus does not say “if the rain falls” or “if the floods come” or “if the winds blow.” He tells us straight-up that storms will come and we will not be spared! A strong foundation based on obedience to God’s word, however, will give us the strength to withstand the storms.
As I look out tonight at you all, I know there are all kinds of storms going on in your lives - there are financial pressures, newly discovered learning challenges, lost jobs, health problems, ailing grandparents, wayward adult children, wayward teens, marital conflict, anxiety/depression.
When personal storms come, often lives are destroyed and left in shambles. But if we construct our lives according to Christ’s building codes, we will not be destroyed. While obedience to Jesus’ words is not a protection from the troubles; it is a protection in the troubles. I want to encourage you: All the time that you have invested in laying your biblical foundation will pay off. It will keep you from spiraling down into depression or anxiety and help keep you strong in your faith and trust in God as being sovereign. Storms will come and go. We are all either in a trial, coming out of a trial, or entering into a trial. Nevertheless, if you’ve built your life on the foundation of Christ, you have nothing to fear.
However Jesus knows that we are not all going to do that, so he goes on in his parable to talk about the foolish man. In verse 26 He says, “And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” The foolish builder also heard Jesus’ words but didn’t act upon them. So, why does the foolish man build his house on the sand? He doesn’t figure any storms are coming. He thinks the sand is a good location. It’s adequate. It’s a lot easier than digging down deep if you don’t have to. It takes more work to build on the rock. It takes more time and energy. And it costs more.
The same is true when it comes to the foundation of your life. To have a foundation built on sandy soil is to take the easy route, to compromise with the world - in your entertainment choices, in your priorities. It is easier to go with the crowd. As a homeschool parent, this might mean skipping your bible course work and focusing more on your math scores so you can brag to acquaintances about how great your child is doing or possibly manipulating your child’s behavior with bribes to get them to obey you instead of taking the time to biblically train their hearts.
But in verse 27, Jesus closes His parable with “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.” Jesus concludes His parable and the entire Sermon on the Mount with an illustration of warning rather than of encouragement. I thrive on encouragement. I like to encourage others and be encouraged myself. Yet, as much as I appreciate encouragement, there is something very powerful about a word of warning that snaps us to attention. If our home is built on sandy soil and the storms hit, our homeschools completely fall apart as we, as the leader spiral down without hope and faith.
Lots of Christians try to change foundations when the rain starts. When the sky gets dark, the winds pick up, and the rain begins to pour they pick up the telephone, call the most spiritual people they know, and say, “Help me build a new foundation under my house. It’s falling apart.” But it’s pretty hard to change a foundations when you’re in the midst of a storm. People in Florida right now, can’t go out and dig under their homes and pour a new concrete foundation. The foundation has to be poured on sunny days.
So I want to encourage you tonight to do a little building inspection. Is your home on solid rock? Is there peace in your home? Is there respect in your home? Are your lives reflecting the fruit of the spirit? Or do you feel like you’re hanging a bit by a thread and the next problem you encounter is going to send you in a downward spiral? If so, as you start out this new school year and you are busy getting new patterns set, be conscious and intentional about adding things into your life that are going to help turn your sandy foundation into a firm slab of rock!
God bless you and I pray that you have a wonderful year of discipling your children.
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This is a collection of the reflections our principal, Susan Truman submits to our monthly newsletters. She is married to her college sweetheart and is a mother of three. She graduated two of her children from Coastal with her third child attending a special needs school.