Theology and Life

Jesus’ compelling speech—today known as the Sermon on the Mount—ends with a well-known story: Two builders. One storm. Two outcomes. Without referencing Matthew 7, can you remember the point of this story? It is not a trivia question; Jesus Himself shares the point of the story as He tells it. But ask yourself, why did Jesus tell this parable to end His sermon? Can you remember whom the two builders represent?

The answer is quite easy and straightforward— in fact so easy and straightforward that we could easily fall into the temptation of not taking it seriously. The man who builds upon the rock, according to Jesus Himself, represents all who hear the words of Jesus and put them into practice. The man who builds upon the unstable sand represents all who hear the words but do not put them into practice. What most of us miss here is that both men are actively building. This is not a depiction of one active and one passive follower of Jesus. It is a depiction of two builders, both with lives that involve work. However, only one allows Jesus’ words to find root in his life. The other lives a life detached from His words. Jesus ends His most famous sermon with an illustration that should have guided the Christian church through out its entire existence—an illustration that exposes the danger of a religion based on hearing alone, with no relation to how one lives. Both forms of life and religion depicted in this parable take work. Yet only one withstands the challenges and difficulties of life.

Sometimes the slowness of church members to put into practice what they hear is not an indication of passivity or laziness, but rather of confusion as to how the words of the Bible should guide our lives and shape our vision of ourselves and the world. Much of a church leader’s work is found in bridging real life to the words of Christ. Somewhere along the way, the Christian church fell into a religion of sand. All denominations have fallen into it, including ours. How do we apply the words of Jesus to our lives? We will always be tempted to believe that following Jesus is just a matter of going through the motions of our weekly church practices. But when Jesus told this parable there were no churches, no institutions—just people, and life.

In this and the following editions of Elder’s Digest we will share a series entitled “The Theology of Life.” If theology is effective and in harmony with Jesus’ intent, it should point toward a knowledge of God directly connected to life. This study will begin with the book of Galatians. After all, Paul was a master in building bridges between life and the words of Christ.

May you read and allow the Spirit to speak to you. May you ponder on the impact the Words of Life have to life itself. And may you share with your church members and those around you the beauty found in the biblical text as we allow the Spirit to solidify our life and theology upon the foundation of the Rock!

2019 Third Quarter

Download PDF
Ministry Cover