“Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” Matthew 7:24
Due to the frequency of earthquakes in Japan, a lot of attention in building construction is given to the design and materials used for foundations. Even the simplest of houses requires construction techniques that are quite different from what we normally observe in the West. In addition, they are quite labor intensive, which adds to a building’s overall price tag. Several disasters and the subsequent collapse of numerous buildings in the past prompted the government to eventually enact strict anti-seismic structural standards that are constantly upgraded as technology improves. The building codes for skyscrapers are even more stringent, employing specially designed shock absorbers known as isolators embedded throughout the structure. Such modifications are developed through detailed research and placed according to precise calculations. Because of these many innovations, Japan is now considered to be among the world’s leaders in earthquake-resistant technology.
Of course the research behind all of this progress and the special materials and labor used to erect these buildings significantly raises construction costs. This has tempted some unscrupulous companies to take illegal shortcuts. The most famous of these scandals came to light in 2005 when it was discovered that the Aneha Architectural Design Company had falsified earthquake design calculations, violating numerous building codes in order to cut expenses. Hidetsugu Aneha admitted that due to pressure from developers, many of his building designs intentionally concealed potentially catastrophic defects, solely for the purpose of saving investors money. As a result, several newly constructed hotels were abandoned and many condominium owners had to vacate their recently purchased residences due to safety concerns. Many of these empty structures still stand as a dubious testimony to the dishonesty and greed of man.
Foundations are important. Therefore, Jesus used this subject as a powerful illustration at the conclusion of His famous message known as the Sermon on the Mount. After Jesus initially taught the gathered crowd some of God’s kingdom values known as the Beatitudes, He then proceeded to elaborate on these concepts through addressing the subjects of persecution, hypocrisy, reconciliation, retribution, pursuit of wealth, worry, judging others and the importance of prayer. Jesus then concludes His talk by using the analogy of two foundations and two builders. One builder was described as being “wise” and the other was depicted as being “foolish.” The wise builder constructed his house on rock which withstood the destructive elements of nature. However, the foolish builder used sand under his foundation, which ended in disaster under the same climatic elements. The intended lesson was that we must carefully choose what we build our lives upon. To put it simply, a life not built upon God’s values invites destruction. But those who deliberately center their lives around God’s Word and heed His instructions, reap eternal life. To avoid a disaster, choose your foundation carefully.