You Know Better
You know better. These are just some of the words my mom would use to seal my fate. You see, it was one thing to make a mistake, cross an undrawn line, or just irritate her. However, it was a whole new ball game when the issue was something that had been addressed before. That’s when things turn personal.
I can’t blame her. We’ve all had those friends, siblings, customers who ask for your help then immediately shut off their ears and move on, leaving you wondering why you bothered—or better yet—why they bothered.
I wonder if the Lord feels the same way. In Luke 6, He tells a parable we’re all probably fairly familiar with. It goes something like this.
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? As for everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice, I will show you what they are like. They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built.
But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.”
We find two stories in this passage. The first was a story about a man who took the time, effort, and initiative to secure his future. He dug deep in search of something to lay his foundation on; something he knew wouldn’t fail him. Despite the fact it was more difficult to reach, probably more painful, definitely more tiring, he still built his house and future to last through anything.
The second story was a little different. It speaks of a man who built his house without a foundation. These days, we would scoff and roll our eyes at the thought of someone doing that. When I heard this story before, I always imagined this scenario playing out on a beachfront somewhere. Waves crashing, crabs crawling, seagulls in the air. But what if this actually took place in a location where it only flooded a little of the time, and the sun shone brightly most off the time? Somewhere where the terrors of ocean waves swallowing his home was far from his mind.
If you throw all building code knowledge aside, would we still consider this man “foolish” for his assumption of safety? This is the sad part. He knew what should have been done, but he couldn’t see the need to spend the time or effort preparing for something that was a mere possibility.
But when the flood hit, and left all he had in shambles, the verse said, “Its destruction was complete.”
We spend a lot of time searching for security; it’s our natural human reaction. We search in our jobs, schooling, our friends, our families, and our relationships. The problem with these things is they can often be washed away.
We pray “Lord, Lord,” and then we walk away from what He offers. Why? Sometimes we’re just too busy, sometimes too prideful, sometimes we don’t agree with the request or requirement, and sometimes we simply don’t want to give up the things we hold. So we walk away, or we stick around and do exactly what we think will suffice.
But read the warning in James 4:17: “Therefore to him that knows to do good, and does it not, to him it is sin.” So I ask you, do you feel safe in the home you’ve built?
Do you think you’ll last through a storm that could appear, knocking on your walls at any point?
When you pray and ask God, “Where should I go? What should I do?” what is your response to the answer? Digging down deep, all the way to the rock beneath the sand may seem completely overwhelming, if not altogether impossible. But when the storm hits and you’re tested in ways you may have never expected, that’s when the deep foundation will keep you safe.
May our final words never be “I knew better.”
Olivia Dummer is a student in Blue Springs, Missouri where Steve Smith is her pastor. She writes and keeps an inspirational blog hoping to encourage others and share what she’s learned about God.