Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Something I found in my files

A house that lasts ....

There is a Bible parable about two builders. One builder builds on sand. The other digs down and finds a rock. There, he starts his building. When the buildings are completed, they are indistinguishable.

The shortcut builder stands as proudly in front of his house as does the rock-finding builder. Outwardly, the houses have the same magnificent luster. The bricks are just so-so. The painting is flawless. The water flows. The lights illuminate. Everything looks solid. The parable states that eventually a storm arises. The rains descend. The winds blow. The fury of the storm beats vehemently against the house. Both builders rest in the security of their house.

The storm does not affect the bricks. It does not affect the plumbing. It does not affect the painting. It does not affect the electricity. However, as the storm continues, it begins to affect the sand. The sand begins to shift. As the sands became less and less stable, the house began to move. The foundation gave way and the house built on sand crumbled. None of its beauty was enough to save it.

The second house was in the storm as well. The fury of the storm raged against it just the same. The sands shifted around it. The rock upon which it was founded did not move. When the storm subsided, there was a house and a pile of rubble. I know the spiritual aspects of this parable. Jesus used it to demonstrate the end of those that hear and heed his words and those that hear and heed not. It is an extraordinarily fundamental truth expressed in a common tale. There is a relationship concept portrayed here.

I feel the implications go well beyond this spiritual application. Look at the houses as relationships. Think of them as the relationships we build each day. Some relationships are utility relationships. These are work relations. They encompass co-workers, bosses, and subordinates. They are the sheds we build in the back yard to keep the tools we use in the upkeep of our lives. They house the fundamentals for maintenance. These relationships are based on a common workplace. We can enhance those relationships and move them in the friendship realm. Basically, they are relationships of necessity.

Then, there are beauty relationships. These are the flower gardens planted in the front yard. We provide food and labor. They provide beauty and enjoyment. They are the give and take relationships in our lives. Most of our relationships will fall into this group. They are the friends we meet for lunch. They come over to the house for supper, cookouts, card games, and such like that. We see them almost daily. They require some effort to keep them alive and flourishing.

Then there are the warmth, comfort, shelter from the storm, relationships. They are the ones we love. They are the ones upon which we depend. They come in all shapes and sizes. They carry many different labels. They can be a spouse, a mate, a partner, a girlfriend, a boyfriend, or a lover. You can begin haphazardly in your utility relationships. You can rush your beauty relationships. This relationship, however, requires a much more solid basis. This is where we will hide away from the fury of life’s storms. This is where we will rest when trouble comes round us.

I have seen so many that rush in this building process. They are so hungry for a relationship that they skip the fundamentals. They build this most important building on the sand. They are the ones that are suddenly getting married. Perhaps, they move in together on the impulse of a good date or three. This house has to stand with you in the storm. In the parable, the storm did not know or acknowledge either house. It was just doing what a storm does. It raged. It blew. It rained. It had no vendetta against the houses. Storms will eventually try every relationship.

Take time in your relationship building. A wise builder does not rush his/her construction. Find the solid foundation. Find a rock solid core of commonality. Do not build on feel good sand. In the storm, the beauty of the relationship will not sustain it. The relationship will not last based on the peripherals. Have you ever witnessed what appeared to be a solidly built relationship crumble? When you build on the feel good sand; where does that leave you when the feel good departs?

If I were only able to give one piece of advice about relationships, it would be about the foundation. The weight of the house will only stand the strength of the foundation. Therefore, build, not as a fool builds. Build as a wise man, on the rock. Time and storm may take out a window, blow over the shed, or destroy the garden, but the house will stand. The house may shake at times, but it is solid if you have made the effort to find the rock.

The palm tree is a taproot tree. The root is as far in the ground as the tree is tall. When the storm comes, it will bend and almost touch the ground. In the wind, it will look like it is down. When the winds subside, and they do, it will slowly stand back up. It may be battered and bruised, but it still stands. Palm trees are not the only trees ever planted in this windy expanse. They are merely the only ones that survived. The mighty oak, with its vast network of roots, will not stand in this wind. The roots run too close to the surface. Eventually, the right wind will come, and the oak will not survive. Deep roots are the key. A solid foundation will survive the storm. The relationship may be battered and bruised, but when the winds die, it will stand.

Take the time. Make the effort. Find the rock.

Ron Simpson

1 comment:

Stacey said...

Wow ...

I think I need to go back and read that again. And then one more time after that.

I could tell you it was well written, but you already know that. And I could tell you that everything you said makes perfect sense too.

But what I think I will tell you, is that I think I just learned something here tonight that I'd forgotten.

Hopefully it's not too late for my foundation.