Towers & Tales
In 1172, sixty silver coins were donated to a local cathedral for the foundational stones of a new bell tower and construction on the tower began within the next calendar year. Six years into the project, the builders had completed the second floor but the structure was already in trouble. What was the culprit? The site that the tower was built on was soft ground, mostly clay, fine sand and shells.
Standing on a mountain side one day, Jesus gave the world’s greatest sermon. In this sermon, that spans three chapters, Jesus unleashes some of the most quoted verses and monumental principles in the entire Bible. He instructs His listeners how to behave in a manner indicative of the God they serve. He urges them to a level of moral responsibility that obliterated the religious standards of the day, so that they might influence the world in the same way that food is effected by salt or darkness by light. These demands will not be easy, so it is only through fasting and prayer that these listeners would be able to mirror their Heavenly Father by finding the narrow path of obedience instead of the wide road of self-interest.
How did He expect us to respond to such lofty expectations? In true Jesus fashion, He concludes this epic sermon with a story, so that we know exactly what to do. The tale that He tells goes like this, “There were two builders building houses. One wise builder did the hard work and dug into the rock to make sure that his home was stable. The foolish builder took the easy way out, since he simply built his home on the shifting sand. Once the homes were built, a violent storm rushed the shore and beat upon both houses. Logically, the home of the wise builder stood, while the foolish builder’s work was for naught.”
Jesus is confirming that all of His expectations are difficult to preform. It is as difficult as an ancient builder attempting to bust through bedrock by hand, but the payoff is well worth the sweat. When the inevitable storms of life approach, then will the proof of labor be clear by the houses that are standing. When cancer is in the diagnosis or the boss calls you into his office with the HR department, then do we know if we have been wise or foolish in the building of our life.
When we build our lives on superficial things like money, fame, power or the like, we are just like the builders of that ancient bell tower. When the sixty silver coins were donated, the expectation was a tower to define their city as a symbol of pride, but what was actually built was the “Leaning Tower of Pisa” - a structure known throughout the world for its faulty foundation. Wisdom and foolishness in life is simple and impossible as hearing and obeying the words of Jesus.
So, does your life lean?