The Parable Of The Wise And Foolish Builders


‘Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.’ Matthew 7:24-29

‘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.’ Luke 6:46-49

Jesus told the parable of the wise and foolish builders at the conclusion of the Sermon on the Mount. He made sure His audience understood the meaning by explaining it. After all of the teachings in the sermon, it was important that the people understood that simply listening to His words was not enough.

In Luke’s account of this parable Jesus begins by asking the question, ‘Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord’ and do not do what I say?’

That’s the real point of this lesson

We cannot just say we are Christians or be a part of the church or read the Bible and then not do what the word of God says. This kind of life will not stand up against the problems that come our way in life.

In the area of Palestine, there were low valleys and gullies that had been exposed to water from rain and storms. During heavy rainfall, these became swollen rivers that washed away everything in their paths. The Jordan river was one which often was swollen especially in the wintertime, as the snow melted from the mountains.

Notice that Jesus mentions rains, floods, and winds, which suggest oppositions from above, beneath, and all around. The stability of the wise man’s house was due to the fact that it was built, not upon ‘a rock,’ but upon ‘THE rock’!

Who or what is the rock mentioned in Matthew 7:25?

The rock is nothing more nor less than ‘these words of mine,’ namely, the words of Christ. Only the life founded upon and guided by the principles of Christ shall stand. His teaching is the rock; all else is shifting sand.

A foolish builder would build his house without thinking about what kind of foundation there was. He might have liked the way the building site looked. Perhaps he decided to ignore the warnings of people who had experienced the past floods.

That’s how we live our lives if we don’t live them according to the word of God. We just do what feels right at the time. We don’t listen to warnings or we ignore God’s wisdom, Proverbs 14:12.

Sand is always moving, always shifting, always changing and it’s unstable. Many people believe that because they belong to a certain religious group their house would stand. Some think if they build on their good deeds, their house will stand. Some think if they build on their righteousness, their house will stand. Some build on their own wisdom and understanding and believe their house will stand.

There are many people who build their lives on shifting sand. They may listen to sermons and Bible classes, but they don’t live according to what the Bible says.

The wise builder, on the other hand, carefully plans his house. He investigates the building site to make sure that it will sustain his building. He judges the soil and elevation to make sure that there are no flood hazards. He will listen to the warnings of those who know the area. He builds with confidence and knows his building will last. As the hymn writer says, ‘On Christ the solid rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand.’ See Psalm 62:6.

We can live our lives with confidence when we live according to the word of God, but we must remember, it’s not just about listening to the Word of God or talking about the word of God but it’s about doing! It’s about putting the Word of God into practice, James 1:22-25 / John 14:23-24.

Everyone who hears the word of God is building a house. The one who hears God’s word but doesn’t do what it says is like a foolish builder who builds his house on sand. That house will be crushed in a storm.

The one who hears the word of God and obeys it is like a wise man that builds his house on solid rock. That house will stand up to any storm. Wise people build their faith on the foundation of God’s word. This faith stands strong against the storms of life.

How can Jesus’ teaching about the wise and foolish builders help us in our outreach efforts?

It’s short, simple and straight to the point. We meet lots of people with different religious backgrounds but sadly many are built on sand. We can use this example of Jesus to help them build a solid foundation on truth.