BBC Radio Leicester Thought for the Day
© John Denney 30 July 2002
I love a good thunderstorm - so long as I’m safely indoors, in the dry. We had a good one yesterday evening, didn’t we? All day it had been hot and humid. Then, the darkening clouds scudding towards us; the immense power of the lightning strokes; and the rumble and crack of the thunder. However clever we think we are, we haven’t tamed the weather yet.
Two or three weeks ago, we were having three dozen friends round for a barbecue. And my wife put up our gazebo, just in case the weather turned bad. It didn’t, but she wanted to be ready. I was summarily despatched to replace some of the tent pegs that had gone missing. And when the gazebo was up, it was firmly up, pegged down and guy-roped, as secure as she could make it. We’ve kept the gazebo up, and it’s been pleasant to eat meals under its canopy, and even take an occasional chota-peg with the mem-sahib in the balmy eventide.
Some neighbours were having a party of their own last Saturday, and they hastily put up a gazebo of their own. But not for them the guy ropes and the tent pegs. They just put it up and sat under it while they and their friends enjoyed themselves. But in yesterday’s storm, their gazebo collapsed. It blew around their garden, scything down their flower beds and generally causing mayhem.
It reminded me of something Jesus said about the radical things He was teaching. Loving your neighbour, feeding the hungry, thinking evil is the same as doing evil, that sort of thing. He said My words are not incidental additions to your life, DIY improvements to your living standards. If you work them into your life, you are like a smart carpenter who built his house on solid rock. Rain poured down, the river flooded, a tornado hit – but nothing moved that house. It was fixed to the rock. But if you just let my words pass you by and don’t work them into your life, you’re like a stupid carpenter who built his house on a sandy beach. When a storm rolled in and the waves came up, it collapsed like a house of cards. [Matthew’s gospel chapter 7, verses starting at 24, paraphrased]
So smart carpenters don’t rush to judge others. Smart carpenters give money to the Disasters Emergency Committee for the millions starving to death in Africa. Smart carpenters forgive those who hurt them. And smart carpenters know where they stand – on the foundations of the love of God.