My family and I recently spent a couple of relaxing days at the coast. We visited Port Aransas to enjoy some sand and surf.

As we drove up and down the beach in a rented golf cart, I noticed dozens and dozens of wrecked portable awnings strewn around the beach. The aluminum supports were hopelessly mangled and they looked like the bones of some strange prehistoric beasts littering the otherwise pristine beaches.

I had to assume there had been a rugged wind strike over the previous few days that had caught many a beachgoer unprepared. Let’s face it — beach sand is not exactly suitable stuff upon which to erect a lasting structure.

I’m sure the wind got under the awnings, ripped their fragile little tent pegs out of the ground, and then tumbled and blew them down the beach until they were hopelessly twisted and destroyed.

I think it was irresponsible of the beachgoers not to then clean up their mess, but that’s a sermon for another day.

I was powerfully reminded of the parable of Jesus concerning the wise and foolish builders. Found in Matthew 7:24-27, it formed the conclusion for the amazing sermon on the mount.

The conclusion fell hard on the heels of a judgment scene where Jesus described the sad demise of all those souls who were haphazard about following Him.

In Matthew 7:22-23, Jesus said, “Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me you who practice lawlessness.”

It seems they were more concerned about their activities than their obedience.

It comes to this: We can talk a good talk but never get around to walking a good walk. Many will stand before the judgment seat of Christ and say, “Lord, Lord,” but won’t be recognized for one good reason. They never did what God said to do.

So Jesus told the parable about a wise and a foolish builder. The wise man, “built his house on the rock.” Whereas the foolish man, “... built his house on the sand.”

Both built houses, but both did not build houses on an equal foundation. So, what foundation did Jesus have in mind?

The first lesson I taught to the congregation where I now preach was on this very section of Scripture. I asked them, “What does it mean to build your house on the rock?”

Without fail, they all said, “Building on Jesus!” To which I say, “Wrong!” Let me explain.

Jesus said, “Therefore anyone who hears THESE WORDS OF MINE AND ACTS ON THEM, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.”

Building your house on the rock is not the same as claiming Jesus, or claiming to know Jesus, or loving Jesus, or even believing in Jesus. Building your house on the rock is only possible by hearing the words of Jesus and acting on them.

Hearing without acting is no more building on the rock than simply believing in Jesus. It takes hearing and performing His words.

There are different kinds of people who are claiming the name of Christian. Some are barely acquainted with Him and couldn’t tell you a thing about what Jesus wants. Others are conscientious and servant minded, well informed in the Bible and actively serving Jesus, obeying Him in all ways.

The latter will stand secure on the day of judgment, having built on the rock. The former will not be welcomed, because they will be mangled masses of wreckage left behind by the storms of this life.

What type of Christian are you? Wise? Or foolish?

Keith Cormier is minister of Southside Church of Christ in Killeen.

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