In Sunday school we’ve been teaching the children the song about the wise man and the foolish man. It’s a fun song with lots of action that kids (and adults) enjoy. The theme is the importance of having a firm foundation, basing our lives on God’s truths. Jesus taught this in His parable found in Luke 6:47-49.
Last week in southern Minnesota we had a very visual example of the words of that song. We had severe flooding due to several inches of rain falling in a short time.
Many homes and businesses were damaged or a complete loss. Sandbagging efforts saved others, but for some, it was too little too late. In one small town almost all the residents lost their homes, and most of the downtown district was irreparably damaged. Their foundations couldn’t withstand the force of the rain that caused nearby rivers to overflow their banks. This fall flood hit areas that are usually flooded in the spring harder than usual.
We live on high ground so flooding is not a danger to us. It was the downpour of rain for twenty-hours straight that took its toll. We had two inches of water in part of our basement where our furnace and hot water heater are located. But other than a large water stain on our newly painted kitchen ceiling, due to a leak in the roof, we escaped the devastation so many endured.
Another recent event reminded me of this same parable. A local carpenter whom we knew for many years passed away. Bill was an excellent tradesman who took pride in a job well done. Sometimes that meant a project didn’t get done in the time frame his customers had in mind.
In addition to his craft, Bill invested his life in people. For many years he served as a leader with the Boy Scouts of America. He especially loved taking scouts, including his own two sons, on wilderness trips to teach them to appreciate the outdoors as he did. He was awarded the highest honor, the Silver Beaver Award, for his many years of dedicated service to that organization. Bill was also active in his church and served on numerous committees throughout the years.
It interests me to see what mementos the family chooses to display for their loved ones visitation and funeral service. Positioned near his casket was Bill’s large old-fashioned wooden toolbox filled with his hand tools. “Very appropriate,” I thought. But what caught my eye was a framed plaque in the middle of the box. It was a quotation of the parable of the wise man that built his life on a solid foundation. In Luke 6:47-48 (NLT) Jesus said, “When someone comes to me, listens to my teaching and then obeys me…it’s like a person who builds a house on a strong foundation laid upon the underlying rock. When the flood waters rise and break against the house, it stands firm because it is well-built.”
Those verses neatly summed up Bill’s life and career and gave me pause to consider how I am living my life and what kind of legacy I am building.