“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.“
Matthew 7:24 (NIV)
Jesus was a fantastic communicator and great preacher. He knew that every sermon needs a good close. Now the Sermon on the Mount was not just any sermon – it was probably the best sermon given by anyone at anytime in our history. How would Jesus close such a sermon? By talking about safe housing.
What was the difference between safe housing and unsafe housing in Jesus’ close? For starters, it was hearing “these words” from Jesus. Jesus spoke many words in The Sermon on the Mount. He spoke a lot about the poor and our response to them, and He centered the sermon on seeking His kingdom and extending it from heaven to earth. If we’re going to live in “safe houses”, we must make certain that we are listening to the words Jesus actually said – not the words we often try to stuff into His mouth to remain comfortable as we make Him in our own image.
Jesus noted that it’s not only hearing “these words” that will lead to “safe housing”, but putting them into practice – i.e., actually doing them. He would go on to tell His disciples that they would need to give up everything to follow Him, but it would be worth it! In fact, they would experience joy in the midst of giving up everything to embrace the kingdom.
Jesus’s reference to “safe housing” in His close to The Sermon on the Mount may have been metaphorical, but the “these words” He refers to were practical and radical. They still call us today to a lifechanging pursuit of the kingdom and a commitment to be the means through which the last become the first. Such a commitment level will lead to the materially poor living with sufficiency and dignity, including being able to reside in safe and affordable housing.
This is the second in the “Ensure Safe and Affordable Housing” series of blog posts on our Journey to Palpable Kingdom Presence.