Monday, February 22, 2010
THE WISE AND THE FOOLISH BUILDERS
“Hi Bro! How are you doing?” John asks with a heavy heart
“Not…not great…John…please help me!” James pleads softly, crying.
“I wish I could. It’s….it’s just beyond me, bro!” the elder brother wipes a tear from his eyes.
“I should have listen to dad…ohh…why?!” James sobs.
Some time ago….
John hugged and kissed his wife goodbye before he sent his twin boys to school as part of his usual routine. He felt a hug every morning would help their relationship go stronger. In fact, it was his dad who gave him the inspiration, how he loved his wife with such dedication.
John, a successful businessman was honest and reliable. Although being stern when in work, he was amiable to all his staffs. His dad had taught him and his brother, James, all about honesty. “Honesty is not only the best policy in life but it is long lasting. You guys may not feel the effects for the short term but it will establish your good name to last you a life time,” his dad would pull his two boys aside every weekend for counsel. While John took to heart every wise word of his dad, James had other plans. Once in a while, John could hear arguments between James and their father.
“James, please listen. It is not good to go against the principle of goodwill between friends. Money isn’t everything you know?” his father pleaded.
“Dad, you don’t know! They were once my friends but now, we are competitors,” James answered, raising his voice.
“Yah, I know. But you don’t have to put them out of business to promote yourself!”
“Okay, dad. Your generation is different. You won’t understand today’s business environment.”
“But the principles don’t change!” the old man walked off, avoiding further exchanges!
James was a used-car dealer. Jackie, once his best friend, started the business with him and their sales soared, business was booming. Due to some misunderstanding between them, they parted company. Jackie then started his own business, some staff from the previous company followed him. They couldn’t stand James’ temperamental outbursts, considered him a hard taskmaster. James would not take his dad’s advice to always 'look after the people who look after your business'.
Soon, Jackie’s business prospered while James’ dwindled. During those difficult times, he was filled with anxieties and that affected his family life deeply. He would come home and took out on his wife and his children. Scheming and cursing were part and parcel of his routine life. One day, his wife left a note of separation, leaving him angry and empty. John and his dad would try to knock some sense into his head but their words fell onto deaf ears. James would shut them off with tons of excuses. Once he even told them to stop meddling into his affairs. John had to console his heartbroken father. All the years of raising the kids, all the coaching and counselling, yet he just couldn’t figure out what had become of the younger son.
The darkest day came when he was arrested for buying and selling stolen vehicles. He couldn’t stand being over-shadowed by his one-time friend, Jackie and went out to prove himself regardless. That day, the cops came for him. While walking handcuffed to the patrol car, words from his dad came flashing back, “Whether you are poor or rich, walk everywhere with your head held high.” He lowered his head and wept bitterly.
“Okay. 244765, Time’s up!” the officer shouts from across the room.
As he is being led away into his cell, John feels heart sick for his brother but thanks his late father that at least one of his boys can walk with his head held high.
The parable of the wise and foolish builders is found in two gospels, Matthew 7:24-27 and Luke 6:47-49.
There are few thoughts which are secondary to this teaching of Jesus such as the inevitability of storm or flood coming to our lives on earth and not even how the houses are built. The sole wisdom from this parable is of course putting into practice the spoken words of Jesus (Particularly in Matthew's gospel). In the gospel of Luke, Jesus was even more direct when he decried those who called Him ‘Lord’ and not do what He said. Someone said, “If Jesus is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all”.
The message of this parable: Either you do what Jesus says or you drown. Woa…wait you say. Why so harsh? When Jesus came to earth, He did not come to play games. He loves us so much and will not stand idle to see our lives waste away by building houses on sinking sand. Anyway, the choice is still with us. You can either abide or ignore the warning of traffic lights or danger signs in life. You can even say to your own peril, “God’s Word, the Bible is not relevant anymore, the world has changed.”
The twelve spies who went into the promise land, ten felt like grasshoppers but two, Joshua and Caleb were excited and ready to rumble. The ten and the rest of the older generation built their houses on desert sand and died for nothing. Joshua, Caleb and the younger generation built their houses on solid ground, remained unshaken in the land amidst much opposition!
Some Jews who are against the teachings of Jesus must have felt uneasy when He teaches this parable. These will go away unmoved, unchanged and even whisper amongst themselves, “It is irrelevant to us!” To those who heed the teaching of the parable, they build their lives to last! Even for some who had passed on, they continue to remain influential to the world.
Sometimes one wonders, two persons coming from the same church, one folds his arms for twenty years, doing nothing while the other, he wants to serve God full time after just two years. The same sermon, one goes away untouched while the other readies himself to serve! Just like in the story above, two brothers hearing and seeing the same values from the same father, James goes astray while John remains steadfast!
The message of this parable: Either you do what Jesus says or you drown. Apart from Christ, everything will eventually fall apart!
Next: Parable of the new cloth and new wineskin