Once upon a time an Indian and a rich businessman were both listening to a moving sermon. The Spirit was knocking on their hearts and both felt the desire to open their hearts to Jesus. The Indian did so at once, but the rich man couldn’t quite take the step. In fact, it took him months before he finally surrendered. Later the man asked the Indian rather puzzled,”Tell me Wanakatou, how come you were able to give your heart to Jesus so easily, while it took me months before I could make that decision?”
“That very simple,” the Indian answered. “Imagine there is a prince who wants to give us beautiful new clothes. I only had a pair of ripped pants and smudgy blanket to wrap around body to keep warm. You not like me. You already think you have fine clothes. I hated my dirty blanket but not you. You like your clothes. I had nothing to be proud of, but you did. So, I very happy to hear words of Jesus, but for you much harder.”
How about our own foundation?
A lot of people claim they don’t believe in anything, but that’s not true. Everybody believes in something. Everybody has a worldview and a personal code he lives by. Of course, a lot of people do not believe in God, but they always believe in something, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning.
But the foundation that a lot of people are trying to build on is trust in themselves. How often will you hear: “I don’t believe in God. I believe in myself. I trust my own strength. After all, nobody is doing any of the work for me.”
It may look like that at first glance. God won’t tie your shoestrings and neither will He spoonfeed you your cereal in the morning. It’s true that you have to take care of a lot of things yourselves, at least, the things you can do for yourself. But that warped sense of duty that you have to do everything yourself, or that you have to prove yourself, is not a very good foundation to build your faith on. In fact, Jesus compared it to building your house upon the sand by the sea. Such a house has no chance when the tide rises and before long such a house will be washed away.
We all possess strengths and talents. We all have some knowledge and you may even know more than your next door neighbor. But you still don’t know nearly enough to build a safe and solid foundation upon your own wisdom.
Job found this out too when God questioned him about knowledge.
“Where were you Job, when I laid the earth’s foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone, while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy?”
You can read about it in Job chapter 38 onward. They are humbling chapters, for it shows we really don’t know much about anything.
“That’s no reason to believe in God,” the atheist may argue. “Within a few years, science will surely have solved all of nature’s mysteries.”
Will it really?
Science is one of the most wonderful things God has given to mankind. At least… as long as it is true science, and not ‘science, falsely so- called’ as the Apostle mentions. (1 Timothy 6:20)
However, to uncover all the mysteries of God’s wonderful creation may take a bit longer than a few years.
Therefore, I’d rather build my life on the foundation of faith in Christ. I rather take the hand of the One who made me and the whole world. What’s wrong with trusting the One who owns the whole place?
And all that I need for that to start is a humble acknowledgement that God is God and I am not.
Only when we truly realize that faith in our own strength and our talents is not enough to face the storms of life will we get to the place where we are willing to consider moving our beliefs and building upon a different foundation.
While we first trusted in ourselves, we now declare ourselves incapable and we move our faith to trust in God.
The reality is that we usually only come to that conclusion when life just gets too hard and we do not see a way out.
But an atheist calls that weakness and some have even called Christians cowards, who are not willing to face reality.
As Augustine said when he was put on trial and was accused of many character flaws: “All the things you say about me are true. I am an unfaithful coward, a liar, and a thief… but look at Jesus, the One whom I follow.”
I agree with him. Was Jesus, the One on whom I build, a coward when He went to the cross and they spat on Him, scorned Him and crucified Him as a common criminal? And then to think that He did it not just for me, but also for the accusers of the faith and all the atheists in this world.
But learning to build on His foundation is an adventure that is worth the journey. It takes time to properly build, but every stone that is properly placed will last deep into eternity. And that is a very, very long time if you would be able to call it that.