When my family moved to Pittsburgh in 1989, one of the first men I met was Al.  Although twenty-five years my elder, we became friends. When our church went through a rocky time, Al and I became even closer commiserating over coffee at McDonald’s.

Al had owned a construction company, so when we broke ground for our first building, he was asked to be our on-site supervisor. Every Monday morning, I would stop by McDonald’s, buy coffee and meet Al at the building. He would walk me around and show me the progress. But it didn’t look to me like much was happening. Every week I complained, “What in the heck did they do all week?”

After a while, Al got a little irritated with my complaining. He said, “You know absolutely nothing about construction.” He walked me over to a deep trench and said, “Look down there. The reason you are not seeing the building coming up is that they are digging down. They are digging the foundation. If they don’t get the foundation deep enough if the foundation is not on bedrock if they don’t take the time to get the foundation right…then the building will not last. It may not look like they are making a lot of progress to you, but quit complaining. This is the most important part of the whole project. And next week I want my coffee black with two sugars instead of one.”

Al Schneider taught me that the most important part of a building is not what you see on top. The most critical part of any structure is the foundation…deep below the surface.

Jesus said the same thing in his conclusion to the Sermon on the Mount. He said that the wise builder “dug down deep and laid the foundation on the rock” (Luke 6:48). When life’s inevitable storms hit the wise builder’s house, it stood firm. But the foolish builder had not taken the time to dig deep. And when the storm hit, the house “collapsed and its destruction was complete” (Luke 6:49).

So, I’ll admit…you are looking good above the surface. But here’s the question: is your spiritual foundation dug down deep and laid on the Rock?

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