BUILDING A HOME FOR A LIFETIME
An amazing story came out of Canada a few years ago. It concerned a builder who developed an upscale
subdivision. The houses ranged from $200,000 and up. It was designed to appeal to the very successful and
wealthy. It was outwardly one of the most beautiful sights and developments that had been seen in that part of the
country. The sub-division finished in the late summer. The houses sold very quickly. People began to move in with
excitement. Everything was going well until winter came. During the winter, the snow began to fall; hard freezes
began to set in; and rain and storms came.
All of a sudden, one house collapsed––then another, then another. One by one, the houses in the sub-division,
without any explanation whatsoever, began to sink into the ground. They attempted to discover the problem, but
there were no solutions.
Finally, they found the developer and under pressure, he finally admitted that he had taken the cheap way out in
building the sub-division. What he had done was, rather than taking the time and money to prepare the site and lay
a foundation, he had built the entire subdivision over a former garbage dump. The foundations under the homes
This could be a parable of what we have seen in our culture over the last four decades.
Marriage after marriage has crumbled right before our eyes. Marriages that seemed to have everything going their
way and were outwardly marked with success, crumbled right before our eyes. Marriages within the church have not
been immune. In fact, George Barna in his studies has indicated that people in the church actually have a higher
divorce rate than those outside of the church. Among those who call themselves "born again" Christians the rate is
27% while among non-Christians it is 23%. The more conservative group of Christians has even a higher rate than
this of 33%.
Surely, if any builder in our community were suffering this rate of failure in his houses, he would soon be out of
business. Suppose a builder had one out of three houses to fall down soon after people moved into them. Can you
imagine the kind of scandal it would be and the financial loss that such a builder would incur? Yet, this is what is
happening in our culture. We must take another look at how we are attempting to build families. There must be a
better way to do it. Surely there is a way to do it. Surely there is a way that will increase the possibility of the home,
the family, lasting a lifetime. Surely, there is a way to build relationships that will last "until death do us part."
We can learn something from the parable with which Jesus closed His famous sermon. While his primary concern
was not marriages, but individual lives, the lesson is applicable to marriages as well. In the parable, He tells of two
builders. One of the builders so builds his house that it stands up to all the storms that come. The other builder
builds in such a way that the house does not stand the trials and storms that come. The great lesson that Jesus
lays down is that there is a foundation for life that will give that life security in the storms that will inevitably come.
The thing that serves as a foundation for a life will also serve as a foundation for a marriage. Let's look at this
passage in light of our present crisis and see what we can learn. In the weeks to come we will go into more detail
about the kind of things that make up this solid foundation for a home that will enable it to last a lifetime.
I. WHEN YOU BUILD A HOME FOR A LIFETIME, YOU ANTICIPATE THE
The primary difference between the two builders that Jesus describes in the parable is at this very point. The wise
builder takes a long look and anticipates the storms that will come. From the beginning, it is his intention to build a
house that will withstand what ever storm may come. The foolish builder works just as hard in the building of his
house, but he fails to anticipate the storms that will come. He ignores the possibility of his house undergoing some
stressful tests. Consequently, when the stressful tests come his house is not adequate.
When a couple approach marriage, they need to be keenly aware of the storms that will blow against the house
they are building together.
1. You anticipate the storm of temptation.
We live in the kind of society that makes it certain that the couple will face temptation. They will face the temptation
to be unfaithful to each other. They will face the temptation to put their relationship in jeopardy by a moral
compromise. Our country has never known a time in which the sexual mores were such that every couple faces the
temptation to unfaithfulness. Not only do they face the temptation, but they are in a culture that will excuse and
condone sexual unfaithfulness. You must anticipate as you enter into the marriage relationship that your marriage
relationship will be tested by temptation. Are you building the kind of relationship that can withstand a strong storm
2. You anticipate the storm of adversity.
You are not building your ideal home in the Garden of Eden. Each of us builds our home outside of the Garden of
Eden and in a fallen world. It is the kind of world in which we experience adversities of all kinds --- sickness, financial
reverses, fallen economies, loss of job, even death. As you prepare to build your marriage you must make sure that
you are building the kind of relationship that can withstand the adversities of life.
Many marriages crumble when the first storm of adversity blows against them. I've seen them crumble when
financial difficulties came their way. I've seen them crumble when death took away a child that they both loved. I've
seen them crumble when one was called away to military service. I've seen them crumble when sickness beset one
of the marriage partners. Are you building the kind of relationship that will stand up when storms of adversity blow
3. You anticipate the storm of children.
Children are a special blessing from the Lord. Every parent knows this to be true. Yet, children constitute something
of a test for any relationship. Some marriages make it fine until children come into the family.
In an article in the USA Today sometime ago, Jacqueline Cook, marriage and family therapist at the University of
Oklahoma Health Science Center, indicated that the shadow of divorce would continue to hang over American
marriages because of two major myths that most people continue to bring into marriage. The first major myth is that
you can change your spouse’s negative behavior or trait after you are married. Apparently, this never works. The
second major myth is that having a child will draw the parents close together and improve their relationship.
According to the evidence, having a child puts so much stress and strain on the marriage, that weak marriages will
rarely survive this situation. Those of you who have worked your way through the parenting process can testify to
the severity of the storms that children can bring to the relationship. Wise builders anticipate this storm and makes
sure they are ready when it comes.
4. You anticipate the storm of change.
No word better describes the contemporary scene than change. No matter when you get married or where you get
married, you best be prepared to face change. Everything can change and probably will across the years of your
marriage. A couple getting married today will probably change locations several times across the years of marriage.
You may get married in Lubbock but only God knows where you will end your marriage. If your marriage requires
quiet, calm, serene circumstances in which to survive, it will never make it. The company for which you work may
merge and put you out on to the sea of job searching. That job search may put you California or New York. Who
knows! It is one of the storms that blows against the contemporary marriage and is one of the causes for many
So, the wise builder of a home anticipates the storms. While some of the storms are a product of the contemporary
culture in which we live, most of them have blown against marriages from the beginning. How will the marriages you
are now building stand up when the storms begin to break? Have you made provisions in your relationship for the
trials that are ahead?
II. WHEN YOU BUILD FOR A LIFE TIME, YOU LAY A GOOD FOUNDATION.
This is the most impressive thing in this text about this wise builder. Jesus describes him like this: "He is like a man
building a house, which dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a storm came, the torrents struck
that house but could not shake it, because it was well built." In contrast, of this the foolish man did just the opposite.
Jesus says of him: "He is a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation." The lesson here for us is
extremely important whether we are building a life or building a home, the lesson is still the same.
1. Jesus Christ and His teaching are the only dependable foundation.
Did you hear what Jesus said? "Why do you call me 'Lord, Lord' and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is
like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice." The verbs by which He describes the
person are significant – “who comes to me? "And hears my words" and “puts them into practice." On the surface, it
is obvious that Jesus understands Himself to be the most unique teacher that has ever come in all of history. This
word would be absolute folly if they were not the words of the Son of God. He is teaching that the only way to build a
life that will stand the storms that are to come is to build it upon Him and what He teaches. He Himself and His
teachings are the foundation on which you can build a life or you can build a home. In order to build a home it
means that both the husband and the wife are involved in building it upon Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
Jesus as the rock is one of the common themes of scripture. He introduced that idea to Simon Peter at Caesarea
Philippi when He presented Himself as the rock on which the church would be built. Peter developed that theme in
his first letter rather extensively. The Apostle Paul states the same truth in the letter to the Corinthian Church.
There is no other foundation upon which you can build except Jesus Christ the Son of God. To build upon Him
involves His person as well as what He taught.
2. Obedience to His teaching is the way to lay the foundation.
This is the point at which the two builders are distinguished from each other. Both of them heard Jesus speak. The
one who was foolish heard Jesus speak but did nothing about what he heard. Consequently, he is like a man who
builds his house upon the ground and puts no foundation in under it. The wise builder very carefully digs down
deep. The verb used by Jesus puts the emphasis upon his digging down deep. He then uses the rock that his
digging uncovers as the foundation up on which he builds his house. Jesus says "This is the person who not only
hears my teachings but who carefully obeys what I teach."
This is obviously where the problem lies in the Church. Couples are attempting to build a marriage with only a
casual acquaintance with Jesus and what Jesus taught. They have not seriously given attention to the precepts and
principles that are so clearly revealed in scripture. The consequence is home after home crumbles before the
storms that come.
Over the next several weeks I want us to look at some of the precepts and principles that are so clearly revealed in
the scriptures that must be carefully followed if you are to have a foundation under your home. To only be
acquainted with the precepts is not enough. They must be carefully followed. There must be a diligent application of
these precepts to the principles of life. It will be an opportunity for you to check on your foundation. It will be an
opportunity for you to go back and make some corrections if you have been negligent in these areas.
As we prepare ourselves to study the scriptures from this perspective, let me urge you to do something. I would like
for you to just make yourself a list of the couples that you have known that have experienced the collapse of their
marriages. It is not my responsibility nor is it yours to try to determine why their marriages collapse. I want you to
simply make a list of them at least in your mind. As you make a list of these houses that failed, I want you to ask
yourself, "Do I have a guarantee that the house in which I live will not experience the same fate? I there something I
can do with my spouse that will put a foundation under our marriage that will stand the storms?" I am going to ask
us over these weeks to renew our commitment to building a home that will last a lifetime.
I don't know of anything that you could do that will be a better blessing to you personally, to your children and
grandchildren, to the church where you are a member, to the community where you live, to the kingdom of God,
than for you to put a solid foundation under the home in which you are building.