It is still relatively early in the day so don’t be surprised if there is a part deux to day two. I’ve read through the sermon on the mount twice now and I’m thinking it may take me a few more days of digging through it to truly grasp all that Jesus was teaching in that one sermon. Good. Stuff.
It’s located in Matthew 5-7. If you don’t have a Bible go to http://www.biblegateway.com and read it! Read several translations until you find the one that speaks to you. I got the most out of the Contemporary English Version today.
At the end of this sermon, Christ emphasizes how important it is to hear AND obey his teachings. The difference between hearing and obeying and hearing and not obeying is pretty simple. It determines whether or not you stand on a foundation of rock or a foundation of sand. When I read that the first time I thought for a second, “Hmm. I actually like to stand barefoot on the sand and feel it between my toes.” What does that say about me?
Today when I read it I got something totally different out of it. He said that being obedient determines the foundation that your house stands on. He goes on to describe what happens to a house built on rock and a house built on sand in hurricane conditions.
I grew up in south Louisiana and I have a pretty good idea of what happens to a house built on the sand. My grandfather was born in a house on the beach in Biloxi, MS. That house stood for more than a hundred years and weathered many powerful hurricanes. After hurricane Katrina, my husband and I took a drive along the road where the house had stood for so very long. There was nothing left except the concrete steps that once led to a front porch. Not even a clear sign or outline that the house had previously stood in that spot. I walked around the lot and weeped and took note of the fact that there was nothing left but three concrete steps and a big pile of sand.
That house was well-constructed. It was simply built on a foundation made of sand.
You are like salt for everyone on earth. But if salt no longer tastes like salt, how can it make food salty? All it is good for is to be thrown out and walked on. You are like light for the whole world. A city built on top of a hill cannot be hidden, and no one would light a lamp and put it under a clay pot. A lamp is placed on a lampstand, where it can give light to everyone in the house. Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven.
Part of fighting cancer for me involved radiation that messed up my taste-buds. For a year after radiation treatment I could not taste salt. Yes, my cooking left something to be desired. After over-salting dishes for a while I finally just stopped adding any. It served no purpose. A little over a year after losing my ability to taste salt, my family was eating out one night and I made the comment, “This is too salty.” My husband froze and looked at me and began to laugh as I began to cry. God had restored my ability to taste. That day I was his favorite. 😉
What I’m gathering from the sermon on the mount is that Christ gave us infinite wisdom to live by and to build a foundation with. Once we have a foundation that is aligned with his teachings, we become salt to the world. We can go out and walk barefoot in the sand (just not in the middle of a hurricane) and in doing so make the world around us a little more palatable.
I’m also seeing that many of the trials I’ve been through this year have been multiplied in intensity because I didn’t heed that warning above to stay off the beach during a hurricane. I just had this big epiphany. When the storms come, we need to get back on our foundation. I can see that I’ve allowed my desire to be everything to everybody around me, to keep me from my own personal growth and stability many times throughout this last year. Lesson learned.