Going on a cruise for Spring Break sounded like such a good idea. Just think of all the places you can go and all the things you can see! Everyone tells you about the all-day access to food and the fun excursions and the swimming pool on the ship but no one tells you about the post-cruise misery.
I’m not talking about the piles of laundry or the unavoidability of going back-to-work/school. Nor am I discussing the fact that now that we’re home, no one is coming in my room while I’m at supper to turn down my bed and leave cute animals made from hand towels and washcloths. No, my problem is something else. Days after the cruise has ended, my brain still thinks I’m on a boat.
Though on dry land, the floor still slopes and slants. I have to reach out and lean against the wall to steady myself when I walk down the hallway at home. My head feels heavy and my feet shuffle slowly. My own mixed-up body betrays me.
I’ve been told that I’m waiting for the motion sickness medicine I used throughout the trip to wear off. Ironically, the medicine that kept me from feeling nauseated on the boat is now making me feel nauseated on land. Go figure.
This seasickness has got me thinking about what’s underneath me, where I find my footing, and what gives me the most stability. I think of Jesus’ parable about the wise man who built his house upon a firm foundation.
Jesus tells this story at the end of his famous 3-chapter long sermon in Matthew. He tells the people how to be blessed in Matthew 5. Then He continues with practical rules about how to treat others and how to live a holy, fulfilling life in Matthew 6. By the end of Matthew 7, I wonder if the minds of the people were swimming in all these instructions. It’s hard to remember that this may have been brand new, unprecedented information for Jesus’ audience.
So in His wisdom, Jesus gives the people an object lesson. He tells them that all of these practices He has given them can be like the foundation of a house. When (not if) the bad times come, the house will stand because the foundation is solid. On the contrary, hearing what Jesus teaches but not authentically living them out loud leaves them with shifting sand beneath them.
Somewhere in our mixed-up brains, we say that freedom in Christ is the permission to live any old way we want. The teachings that made our salvation possible look irrelevant or old-fashioned. But Jesus offers a practical guide to home-building. He says, “Give to the needy. Don’t worry. Love your enemies. Store up your treasures in heaven.” Make these the bedrock for your life so that the storms won’t topple you.