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“By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.” (1 Timothy 6:19)

A must-see for tourists visiting Italy is the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Tuscany. The eight-story cathedral bell tower was completed in the 12th century. While construction was still in progress, the tower’s foundation began to sink into the soft, marshy ground, causing it to lean to one side. Its builders tried to compensate for the lean by making the top stories slightly taller on one side, but the extra masonry only made the tower sink further. By the time it was completed in 1360, modern-day engineers say it was a miracle that it didn’t fall down completely. By the 20th century, the 190-foot-high white marble tower leaned a dramatic 15 feet off the perpendicular. Though an initial attempt in 1994 almost toppled the tower, engineers were eventually able to reduce the lean by nearly seventeen inches by removing earth from underneath its foundation. On December 15, 2001, Italy’s Leaning Tower of Pisa reopened after a team of experts spent eleven years and $27 million to fortify the tower without eliminating its famous lean. Though entrance to the tower is now limited to guided tours, hordes of tourists can still be found outside striking the classic pose for photos next to the tower pretending to hold it up. Today the top of that tower is nearly thirteen feet off center. Engineers travel to Pisa yearly to measure its slow descent. They calculate that at its current rate of decline, and without taking any future countermeasures – it will one day collapse.

Nothing is more important in construction work than making sure you have the foundation right. If you don’t get that correct, then nothing else will matter. It may be more fun to decide what color to paint the rooms and how you will decorate the finished structure, but without a proper foundation – nothing else you do will last long enough to make any difference. How many lives have been erected in a similar manner? Instead of building them on something solid, many in today’s society will try all kinds of fads and gimmicks. They will spend precious time and energy compensating for a life that is not instituted on a firm foundation in the first place. Jesus said: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his 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. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand” (Matthew 7:24-27).

Smart and successful Christians build their lives on the right foundation. Man tries to change life from the outside, hoping the inside will be altered. God changes it from the inside, and then the outside will ultimately be transformed. Scripture makes it clear that there is only one foundation possible for a sound spiritual life: “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one we already have–Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11). The amount of renovation we can anticipate is reliant on one’s degree of obedience to God’s commands found in His Word. Carpenters utilize plumb lines to keep their work strait. A plumb line doesn’t change or move with the whims of the builder. It remains true, and all work must line up with it or risk being crooked. In the Old Testament book of Amos, it says, “This is what he showed me: The Lord was standing by a wall that had been built true to plumb, with a plumb line in his hand. And the Lord asked me, ‘What do you see Amos?’ ‘A plumb line,’ I replied. Then the Lord said, ‘Look, I am setting a plumb line among my people Israel; I will spare them no longer’” (Amos 7:7-8). Today, the Scriptures continue to serve as His plumb line for us. When we can see that we have departed from His ideals, His purposes, His ways, and His commands – we will soon become aware that we are in trouble.

It is not unusual for us to be more concerned about the number of followers we have on social media than it is to focus on whom we should be following. The Lord does not change with the whims of culture; He sets the standard.  A wise man once wrote: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). Build your life around the Word of God. It is as true today as when God inspired its writing. Since then, it has been used by God to raise, support, and guide millions. So why not us? It is the firm foundation that will always keep you leaning in the right direction.

REFLECTION: What factors in your life push you to lean in the wrong direction?  In what ways might you be able to make time to build a stronger foundation for Christ? When will you implement these changes?


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