During the summer, when the South Texas heat zaps the land, we engage in what seems like a strange ritual. We water our houses. Okay, I know the jokes. “Trying to make your house grow?” “We did that and got a four-bedroom house out of a three-bedroom house.” When I first heard about the practice, I made them all. Then, when I became a homeowner, I started having problems with doors not shutting and a few other things. The solution, water the house. What we’re really doing is watering the foundation. Our foundations are placed on land that tends to swell with enough water and contract when we have a drought or the heat zaps the water out of the ground. Without watering, the house’s foundation would crack and eventually make the house unlivable until major repairs were made.
We take great care with our houses; they are the largest investment most people ever make. And well we should! We don’t want the foundations to be destroyed when it comes to our houses. At the same time, we live in a world where it seems many of the foundations for a just society are being destroyed. Families are being splintered and redefined. Justice seems to be a perk of the rich. Greed is seen as good. Life is devalued. Far too many mock God. Faithfulness is ridiculed. Government has gained far too much power over every part of our lives. And we cry out with David “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3)
I think that just about every follower of Christ can look at our country and make a case for the premise that the foundations of society are being destroyed, no matter which side of the political aisle they stand on. Our most recent election showed how sharply divided we are on politics and we all recognize that there’s a problem. Some would say that the election of our new president (elect) was a way to restore the foundations, while others would say it was proof of the crumbling foundation we are living on. The reality, though, is that the foundation of our society is not the political structure. The foundation of our society is found in the strength of our churches. Quite honestly, the foundations of our society are crumbling because the church has withdrawn from the world. Oh, we make it a spiritual thing by noting that we are focusing on a heavenly kingdom and not an earthly one. We have focused on the spiritual side of things and neglected the “earthly” things like feeding and clothing the poor, giving water to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger, caring for the sick, visiting those in prison and working for rehabilitation, and elimination ethnic divisions among people.
The churches have gone in this direction because we, God’s people, have led it that way. We’d rather hear how God is going to make us wealthy than find ways to give our money to help those in need; we’d rather hear how God is going to make us healthy than find ways to care for the sick. We do that because if that teaching is true, then those in poverty and those who are sick have only themselves and their lack of faith to blame. We stay out of the problems of the world because they’re messy and retreat into our cocoon of churchiness so that we can close our eyes to the problems of addiction, of broken homes, of familial abuse. If the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? We can do what we should have been doing all along: spiritually reading God’s word, worshiping God, and obeying Him; then we should be feeding and clothing the poor, giving water to the thirsty, welcoming the stranger, caring for the sick, visiting those in prison, and working for peace among all ethnic groups. It begins with us.
Oh Lord, I look at this world and I can’t help but wonder at the wickedness I see. Remind me, that I have work to do as Your child. Help me restore the foundations one small bit at a time.
Daily Devotion by Bob James