February 20, 2022: Epiphany 7

Let us pray: Dear Savior,  all of us have been given one life to live.  We can build it upon contemporary values and morals, or we can build it upon truths that last eternally—draw from Your holy Word.  The later is rock solid.  The former is nothing but sand.  Today remind us to chose wisely.  Amen


TEXT:  Luke 6: 46-49

Dearly Beloved By Christ: 

          It was the late 1780’s.  The American revolution was winding down. Fragments of it had already spread to France and Europe.  Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia, still retained a firm hold on power, but she didn’t want any such problems coming to her country.  So, she decided to take a trip to Crimea which was restive then, as today. One of her ministers named Potemkin arranged the whole thing.  She would travel by barge down the river and occasionally stop on the shore.

          Potemkin knew what-was-what in the land.  It was dirt poor and full of peasants who hated the system.  He and others had told countless lies to ingratiate themselves with the Empress and reap riches.  He couldn’t let her know how bad it really was, so he devised a scheme.  He had portable, false-front villages constructed.  They looked good, kind of like Hollywood sets, and the laborers would serve as the waving crowd as she passed by.  Then they would break them down, take them further downstream, reconstruct  the “Potemkin” village with minor alterations  and she would go home happy.  But it was all fake.


          I don’t know about you, but I’m getting the feeling that America is becoming a Potemkin country.  I lived through the ‘70’s and ‘80’s inflation.   If we use the same statistics they employed then, currently inflation is running over 16%, worse than those days.  80% of all dollars have been “produced” in the last two years.  Food is higher.  Grocery shelves have blank spaces.  Credit card debt is at an all time high.  But we’re told everything is wonderful and  people are  richer than ever!  Do you feel more secure today than a couple of years ago?  Potemkin America anyone?


          Your house isn’t merely the roof over your head.  It is really your entire life.  It is the morals, values, and truths that you base your life upon.  Christ’s parable is about two types  of builders: the wise ones and the foolish ones. The wise builder digs a deep foundation and constructs his or her abode on rock.  They carefully position the walls and roof.  Such homes have “good bones” as the builder’s say.  Meanwhile their foolish neighbor is in a hurry and builds on sand using shoddy construction.  Eventually a flood comes and the Potemkin house collapses.  While the house built upon rock stands.

          This is a parable of life, your life.  True happiness doesn’t come from money, possessions, or your ego.  It comes from God.  It stems from building your life upon Christ, the Rock and Redeemer of souls.   Our sinful nature is sand.  When tough times come, we crumble.  But Christ endures. And so does faith in Him.

          Everything in life is ephemeral—it doesn’t last—except faith in Jesus which is His gift to us, wrought by the means of grace, the tools by which He conveys to us His forgiveness earned on the cross.  Health will eventually fail everyone.  Wealth will never last because you cannot take it with you.  Possessions will molder and crumble.  We all have our own Potemkin villages, don’t we?

          However, what God builds in and through us will last forever.  It will bring joy, happiness, contentment, and hope. Christian faith never disappoints.  This is God’s blessing to “the one who hears God’s words and puts them into practice.” 

          This past week I listened to an economic prognosticator who made the claim that in the second half of 2022 “People will turn to God.”  When tough times come people turn to God as a last resort, don’t they?  Today is your wake-up call to turn to Him as your first resort and save yourself a lot of grief!   Amen


Pastor Thomas H. Fox    

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