Smart and Not Afraid: Using All Your Smarts

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. 25 The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell—and great was its fall!” Matthew 7:24-27, NRSV

Over our married life, Cindy and I have lived in five different homes with foundation issues. When I think on them, two were built on black gumbo soil and three were on sandy loam. Three of the five were built on slabs and two were on pier and beam.

Because three were built on slabs, they were built on rock. In college there is a sedimentary rock named conglomerate. It looks like concrete except the gravel is much smaller.

One of those houses had a huge crack in the slab that was so bad, it had broken the brick on the outside of the house. There were cracks in the Sheetrock. Doors wouldn’t close. The windows wouldn’t open and one of the windows looked like it would fall out at any time.

When we looked for a condo a few years ago, we saw one we liked. We liked the location. We liked the floor plan. We liked that we wouldn’t have an upstairs neighbor. It was a nice sized lot. The HOA dues were virtually non-existent. There was this weird hole in the foundation. It wasn’t the problem with the foundation, but it was weird. We also thought it strange to have so many mirrors in an otherwise empty house. Had we bought that place those mirrors would have come out. We also would have found a way to fix that weird hole in the foundation.

As we walked around the home, I kept trying to figure out the issues. I found one outside, and made our decision. Except .crack in the wall, it would have been perfect. But there \were foundation problems meaning this wasn’t a good idea. That house was built on a rock but the ground, underneath likely would cost us money.

I drove by sometime later. The place was still for sale. But the exterior crack was covered with a 1×6.

Today’s lesson is Jesus talking about a wise person and one not so wise. Perhaps the lesson is a little of what we talked about last week using the brain God gave us.

Jesus said the wise builds a house on a rock and the foolish builds on sand.

We bought a house in the mid-80s. What a mistake. If you saw the 1986 movie, The Money Pit with Tom Hanks and Shelly Long, we could say the movie was about our house. We had electrical issues, plumbing issues, and foundation issues. Every issue began small and grew huge. The best way to tell you about this house is in a story I call The Parable of the Washing Machine Drain.

One day Cindy said, and I do remember her words. We’ve talked about it extensively. “Honey, I have a little job for you to do.” The drain line for the washer was in the garage and ran under the house. It was pier and beam construction, so blocks and open underneath. She wanted me to snake the line. That snake is not in my irrational fear of snakes.

I ran the snake down the drain pipe, about four feet were visible. It stopped unable to turn the angle. I got a pipe wrench, removed, then started working the snake again. I went three feet and stopped. It wouldn’t go.

Cindy decided I needed help. I asked why since it was a little job. She called her brother David to help. We started but we decided to completely remove the pipe under the house. We tried to get it out.

Cindy went in and called her Dad who brought her brother Jimmy. Then my dad got a call. There was five working that day. I don’t remember was how long it took us to get out.

When we got there and all of us started working and it took all five of us to get it out. Wayne was about four then and was “helping.” We got it out. The longest pipe was the one from the drain hose to the floor behind the washer. The rest were between six inches and a foot. It looked like someone got a box of tiny pipes and fittings and proceeded to use them all. It rn six inches turn 45 degrees. It would eight inches and turn 90 degrees. It was crazy. No wonder the water wouldn’t drain. There were too many turns and the fall was nonexistent.

To top it off, the maze of pipe, someone concreted into the main sewer line. That required creative use of some tools that were never intended for such use. Our family joke is, “Honey, I have this little job for you to do.”

That was one system. It seemed like every system had a story like that. Someone put a new breaker panel outside the master bedroom. Inside the master bedroom was the original panel. Everything ran through both breaker panels.

Then the foundation. The foundation company was appalled that there were only three beams carried the whole house.

I could go on, but I won’t. Pleasant Retreat, Santa Fe, and Diboll. All had foundation issues, popping tiles off the floor, doors that wouldn’t close. It is a long list.

I was at a Lion’s Club down on the coast and the beginning of hurricane season. Hurricane expert, Dr. Neil Frank spoke on hurricane safety awareness. He said people foolish enough to buy a house directly on the beach should, but probably won’t rethink it. He quoted the lesson. Construction continued on beach houses. He said don’t buy a beach house, rent. If you insist on buying don’t buy on the immediate beach. If you are building on the beach, use pilings. Jesus was right, building on sand is foolish.

It surprised me in these days, when people around the country are wanting, demanding to go back to work, a meal, going shopping, etc. yet seem unwilling to protect themselves and others.

Thepool party where everyone ignored social distancing, restrictions on personal contact, and in the video I saw, there wasn’t a mask for miles.

More than one person said “I don’t care. I am going to do what I want.” That is building houses in the sand, Completely foolish.

In the 1918 flu pandemic the virus hit in two waves. The first wave wasn’t bad. Another wave.A gene mutated and many more peope died.

My concern is a lack of empathy, compassion, self-care, the lack of love of neighbor goes to the root our faith. I wear a mask not because I want to, but because the last thing I want to do is get one of you sick.

There has been a lot of talk lately about the effectiveness of masks. One of the universities did a series of studies using water droplets. When the water droplets were in the room. Even through a mask, many droplets still got through. But, when measured in the other direction, me wearing a mask makes a significant difference for the people around me. To do that is to live in love of God and neighbor. To quote someone I saw on TV recently, “I wear a mask to protect you, You wear a mask to protect me.

I do love the unique ways people are helping to take better care each other. To drive a lap around Daytona International Speedway for a high school graduation, picking up their diploma at the start/finish line creates a graduation none of those seniors would ever forget. The senior parade here in Huntington. And so many more. Band rehearsals over Skype or Zoom are pretty cool too.

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