Sandcastles

Over Valentine’s weekend we were on the Oregon coast at Seaside to watch our grandson, Luke, play in a basketball tournament and to spend some time with our family and in-laws. We were treated with a beautiful sunny weekend with temperatures in the mid sixties and little wind. We spent quite a bit of time wandering on the beach—along with hundreds of others!  Someone had built a very elaborate sand castle which obviously had involved quite a bit of time as well as creativity. People would stop by and take pictures as they admired the handy work. The next day as we walked by the same location, there was—of course—no evidence of the work of art. It had been completely washed away and became once again just millions of grains of sand on the beach to walk upon.  At nearby Cannon Beach they will be holding their 44th annual Sandcastle Day Festival this June 7th with an estimated 1,000 participants  and some 8,000 spectators, as groups in every age category create their ornate and intricate sculptures starting at 6:30 a. m. The day after the contest, the impressive sculptures, just as the castle we saw at Seaside, will be obliterated and just part of the beach once again.

     I am reminded of one of Jesus’ parables recorded in both Matthew 7: 24-27 and Luke 6:46-49—the parable of the two foundations or of the wise man and the foolish man. It was the basis for a chorus we often sang in Sunday school. The foolish man built his house upon the sand and when the “rains came down and the floods came up, the house on the sand fell flat.” In contrast, the wise man built his house upon the rock and when “the rains came down and the floods came up, the house on the rock stood firm.” And the spiritual lesson? “So build your life on the Lord Jesus Christ and the blessings will come down as the prayers go up.” 
     If you have come to Christ for salvation, He is the foundation—“For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (I Cor. 3:11).  He is the rock upon which we need to build our life (I Cor. 10:4).  When you are resting on Christ, you can build on that foundation things which will last, referred to by Paul in  I Cor. 3:12 as “gold, silver, and precious stones.” The person who has put his/her faith in Jesus Christ, can build on that foundation an edifice of Christian character that will weather the storms of misunderstanding, cynicism, criticism, suffering, adversity, disappointment, doubt and persecution when they threaten to—like ocean waves—overwhelm him. He can remain “steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord” (I Cor. 15:58).
     But, those who build on the sand, no matter how intricate, ornate, and crowd-pleasing their structure, will one day find everything come crashing down and the storms of adversity and ultimate judgment come. What is the sand? It is human goodness and human effort. It is the old weakness of the flesh, and as  Paul wrote: “For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh…” (Ro. 7:18).  No matter how much effort and expertise goes into a sandcastle, no matter how impressive the sculpture, it is not going to withstand the power of the tide coming back in and will be washed away as though it had never existed.  Many in this world continue to work on their sandcastles as if they are going to last forever and somehow grant them entrance into heaven because of their efforts.  The prophet Isaiah, however, wrote: “…And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment; and all of us wither like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away” (Isa. 64:6).  Titus, in the New Testament, wrote: “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit” (Tit. 3:5). And the Apostle Paul wrote: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works (building sandcastles), that no one should boast” (Eph. 2:8,9). 
     The obvious conclusion then, just as in the children’s chorus, is to “build your life on the Lord Jesus Christ.”  The Psalmist wrote: “Unless the LORD builds the house, they labor in vain who build it…” (Psa. 127:1).  The wise man builds his house on the rock, Christ Jesus. The foolish man builds his house on the sand. On what are you building your life?
                Forever His,
                    Pastor Dave
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About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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