Last weekend, I had the pleasure of directing a Three Little Pigs play. The little performers were cute, and of course the big, bad wolf blew down the straw house and the stick house. But he couldn’t blow down that brick house.
The story of the three little pigs teaches an important lesson about working hard and preparing for the future. It echoes a story Jesus told:
“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” (Luke 6:46-49, ESV)
Who is the man (or woman!) who builds a strong house on a strong foundation? Is it the one who has all the right answers and always chooses to do what is religiously acceptable? Is the one who has her act together?
Take a look at the context: before he starts teaching, Jesus’s actions on the Sabbath show the Pharisees that their religious rules are worthless.
He then proceeds to choose illustrious men to be his closest followers. You know, fishermen, tax collectors, zealots, and other well-loved people like that.
Next He starts blessing the poor, the hungry, the mourning, and the hated. He pronounces woes against the rich, the full, the entertained, and the well-liked.
Finally, He gets to the words the wise man obeys: Love your enemies. Do good to those who hate you. Give without expecting anything in return. Be merciful. Don’t judge. Forgive. Fix your own problems before you try to fix someone else’s.
And then He tells this story: obey Jesus’s words, and your house won’t be blown down.
Oh, the storms will still come. In fact, the flood will be unleashed against your house. Right after Jesus tells this story, He encounters two people in the midst of the flood: a centurion whose servant was dying and a widow who had lost her only son.
Neither of these people were “righteous” in the eyes of the local religious leaders. A Roman and a widow. But both of their houses stood through the storm. Why? Because they had faith. Their foundation was the Rock. They knew He could do anything.
One more person was facing a blinding storm in these chapters. John the Baptist was in prison. And he started to doubt. He sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He was even the Messiah.
What?! He’s a hero of the faith. And now he’s doubting? Is his house built on sand?
Not at all. Jesus says that John was not “a reed shaken by the wind” (Luke 7:24). He was a man of faith who loved others but who happened to be going through a hard time that caused him temporary doubt. Jesus responded by affirming him and bolstering his faith.
Sometimes our faith will waver. Sometimes we won’t heed Jesus’s words. But if our life is characterized by following Jesus, we will ultimately withstand a beating.
“Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you;
he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” (Psalm 55:22, ESV)
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