Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Build a sure foundation


"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 upon rock; and when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house, and could not shake it, because it had been well built." (Luke 6:47-48)

By Bishop Robert Hayes Jr.

A couple of months ago, I got my first opportunity to visit the new 52-story Devon Tower, the tallest building in our state. As far as 20 miles from downtown Oklahoma City, you can see this massive steel-and-glass structure rising there. Close upon it, everything near it seems miniature.

My reason for going to the tower was to conduct a wedding. Instead of nuptials in a quiet church sanctuary, the ceremony was on the skyscraper’s 50th floor! You need to know, when it comes to heights, my knees get shaky; my courage takes a vacation when I am more than 10 feet above the ground. But this was for a very dear friend, so I determined to struggle through my fear.

Walking into the building, my wife and I became wide-eyed over the beauty and size of this magnificent edifice. The lobby decorations and fixtures were as large as some houses. Restaurants and coffee shops seemed everywhere. We felt we had just walked into a vertical city.

We were escorted to a special elevator that rose nonstop to the top floors. My ears popped crazily as we catapulted to the top in less than 45 seconds! Exiting on the 50th floor, we were drawn to the tower’s western windows, to look upon a stunning sunset. I could see California! OK, maybe I exaggerate, but the view was beautiful. (And reportedly the lavish dining room is fully booked for months.) The ceremony itself seemed over before the photographer could say "smile."

As we made our way back down the elevator, I thought about a passage of Scripture I used in the ceremony. The words came from Jesus’ sermon that we commonly call The Beatitudes.

I had told the beaming couple that, as impressive as the Devon Tower looks, the most important part of that skyscraper is not found in its outward appearance. The essential, most critical part is something you cannot see—the foundation. When the building was under construction, workers had to dig down hundreds of yards before they could began building up.

The deeper the foundation, the stronger the structure, I told the couple.

The same is true of any marriage or anyone’s life. The foundation on which we build our lives is the most significant component, ultimately determining whether we will be able to withstand the floodwaters of adversity, howling winds of circumstances, and difficulties that surely buffet all of us.

As we enter this new year of 2013, I ask you today: How and on what is your spiritual house built? Construct it on the words and teachings of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, or you invite ruin.

People often build lives on things. Sometimes people put more faith in people than in the Lord. Some think the ultimate goal in life is to accumulate possessions and make happiness the object of all striving.

None of these can withstand what life will send your way.

When you hear and follow what Jesus says about true life, you will find everything you need for this life and more. But you must begin your building on the sure foundation of Christ!

The magnificent Harkness Tower has stood for many years on the Yale University campus. In the lower part of the outer wall is one stone that differs from any other stones in the building. Its inscription declares that one stone is part of the bedrock of the building, and it is set there to be a visible witness to the unseen foundation, bearing testimony to the truth that things not seen are eternal.

The Apostle Paul captured that deep meaning in Jesus’ sermon, when he later wrote words that leave no doubt about the importance of how we build our lives: "For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ!" (I Corinthians 3:11)

Prayer for today:

Oh, eternal and ever-loving God, we come before you this day asking that you will govern and direct us by the power of your Holy Spirit so that our minds may be enlightened in the search for truth, that our feet may be strengthened in the way of salvation, that our lives may become beautiful with the loveliness of service, and that our hearts may be still, more deeply confirmed in your love. Through Jesus Christ, our rock and our foundation, we pray.



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