A few years ago, as I pulled my truck into the driveway. I knew something was wrong with the engine. So I went to work to figure out the problem, emptied out the oil, and filled it with new. Pulling out of the driveway, I stepped on the gas and very little happened. The engine had lost all compression.
As the truck barely inched forward, I realized I might have caused a new problem. So I headed out (as fast as the truck would go) to the Ford dealership because my warranty was 100 miles away from expiring.
I pulled into the dealership and puttered to a stop. I wasn’t even confident they would be able to get my truck into a service department area! A couple of days later I got the call. The dealership guy said, “Mr. Miller, we have some bad news for you.”
After explaining all the issues wrong with the vehicle, he got to the bottom line. “It’s going to cost you about $14,000.00 to fix your truck.” A nervous combination gasp/man giggle escaped my mouth, but then I found my voice and brought up the warranty. The dealer checked it out, and then called again, assuring me they’d get to the bottom of the problem. After two days of tearing apart the truck, news arrived that I’d receive a brand new engine for free.
I would get a brand new engine on my truck that has 117,000 miles on it.
Then the mechanics accidentally destroyed the truck’s water pump and radiator and so replaced those as well.
Now I drive a 2004 Ford F150 Super Crew that is basically brand new except for a little exterior rust. I’m going to drive that thing for the next couple hundred thousand miles until it dies because to me it’s brand new.
Sometimes our lives feel like we got a lemon, especially in our spiritual lives. No one wants a lemon life. Every man wants to live intentionally and with purpose, and for his life to be impacting. What makes us human is the propensity and ability to search for meaning and purpose in life. God placed that desire in us.
At some point when the engine fails, or we’re puttering along barely moving, we ask some of the greatest questions all humanity will ever ask. Questions like, what is my purpose in this life? Why on earth am I here?
The only true fix and fill is the love, forgiveness, and mercy of our Creator. He understands the innate purpose of humanity. I believe that is the spirit of this great Sermon on the Mount.
“Everyone who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man (verse 24). And the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew on that house but it did not fall because it had been founded on the rock and everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who builds his house on the sand and the rain fell and the floods came and the winds blew and beat against that house and it fell and great was the fall of it” (Matt. 7:27-29).
Jesus teaches two imperatives that you must know to live a meaningful, purposeful life.
First, storms expose your hidden, truest self.
Two guys who look remarkably the same. They’re the same age. They have a similar career and income, retirement funds, and good investments. They both have 2.5 kids, a dog, and a couple cars in the garage. They even built similar houses.
Then the same storm hits both, and what does the storm do? It exposes the one contrast.
One home, built on the sand, is destroyed. The other, with a rock solid foundation, remains.
The storm exposed the undergirding character of each home.
Each one of us lives as one or the other. Storms blow in, that’s a given. The storm beats at us, but it’s our foundation that determines survival.
The parable speaks of two people who appear to have it all together on the outside. Religiously, they go to the same church, worship at the same denomination, engaged in the same practices, served the same amount of time, etc. But there’s something different about these two individuals. One built his foundation on the rock, and the other did not.
Second, sometimes the seemingly meaningless work turns out to be the most crucial. Therefore, dig deep.
- When a client treats your wrong, return love and care.
- Look in the face of someone who has lied and continue to love.
- Love your mother in law.
- Endure, killing sin in your life even when you feel you can’t.
- Love your wife when she’s yelling, and speak with kindness rather than revenge.
- Forgive the undeserving.
Dig deep and change the world as well as your foundation. Be obedient when it counts most because one day a storm will arrive and test your character to the core. You will stand strong if you’ve built your trust and character on love-based obedience to your Creator.