Several years ago, my wife Lynn and I had the wonderful opportunity to lead over 20 high school students on a mission trip to Appalachian mountains in Kentucky. For a week we worked on homes in one of the poorest, yet most beautiful regions in the country.
When our van pulled up to the home of James and Carmon, our group of suburban teenagers were excited to get to work. There was a lot of work to be done.
Tina, a bubbly high school junior, was like one of those designers you would see on today’s popular home makeover shows. She was filled with ideas on what we could do to give the home great curb appeal. “We should have some of the group start painting and the others can pull all of the old shrubs from around the house. Then we could put in all new landscaping. It would look awesome!”
She was right. The house badly needed a paint job. I’m not sure if it ever had been painted. And there really wasn’t much landscaping to speak of.
But there was a bigger problem that Tina didn’t initially see. The house was leaning over to one side. What the students didn’t know was that when James built the house just twelve years before, he cut down several large trees where the house now was standing. He built his house on top of the stumps of those old trees. This worked fine until the stumps started to rot and the house began to fall over.
Instead of adding curb appeal, we began jacking up the house, digging footings, pouring concrete in each corner, setting concrete blocks, and then lowering the house back down. The new foundation made the structure stronger.
By the end of the week, the house sat on its new solid foundation. If you drove by, you might not have noticed any change. But the foundation made all the difference. Had it not been repaired the home was in danger of falling over.
The question that people asked was “Who would do that? Who would build a home on a foundation that won’t last?”
It happens all the time. Maybe not with our houses, but certainly in our homes.
There are many families who put a lot of effort into painting and landscaping. From the outside, the family looks really good. By all accounts they look to have it all together. The kids are in all sorts of activities. They have been given every opportunity to succeed in many areas of life. Not only are they on the team but they participate in outside practices and camps to make them even more successful. The parents have sacrificed time, energy, finances, and so much more for their kids to be the best that they can be.
The problem is that this is just paint and landscaping. This is not foundation building. When the storms come, and they will come, the foundation of looking good will collapse.
Maybe it is time to do a little home inspection. What is the foundation for your family? Check out what Jesus says in Matthew 7:24-25. “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise one who built their house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.” Good advice from a Carpenter.
We need to make sure that we build our families on the foundation of God’s Word. We need to make sure that the blocks that hold up our family are solid values and virtues of faith, integrity, honesty, compassion, responsibility, courage, self-discipline, loyalty, and friendship.
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
What is the foundation for your family?
By Pete Larson
Husband to Lynn
Father of two
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Executive Director of Family Fest Ministries