The deep dark basement. A place for storage and the heating system. There could be a workshop or a cold cellar. Maybe there is just a lot of spiders and mice. For some it is only a crawl space, lots of room for stuff if only you could avoid head trauma every time you tried to retrieve your empty suitcases or boxes of Christmas decorations. Others can’t understand the negative comments. Their pool table and guest bedroom along with a home theatre room that would rival the local cinema and a hot tub and steam room that look like they are from a five star hotel brochure, cover the once boring underground cement cavern.
It really doesn’t matter whether your basement…
…is the place that entertains you or sends you to the hospital for antibiotics and stiches. The finish or lack thereof does not define its function. The basement at its core is made up of the foundation walls and is what ties the building that you see, to the footings you don’t see. It provides a space where the power, water and heating enter and where the dirty water pipes exit. Most importantly and often forgotten, unless you live in tornado alley, the basement is the place to go when the storms begin.
In a structure the safety of the foundation is directly linked to its proximity to the footings, the anchor of the building. Each foundation wall sits on a footing. The foundation gives direct access to the footings and therefore direct access to the strongest part of the design. It transfers the weight of the building and the force of any storm.
It’s all fine and dandy that I talk metaphorically about God being the footings…
… [see A Little Understanding – The Footings] but what is the foundation of a Christ follower’s life and the collective of Christ followers? What ties who we are on the outside, the part people see, to the footings, the God people can’t see? I am sure there are quite a few ideas going through your head, many of them based on approaching God. You can worship, pray, and read your Bible to name a few. I agree that these are some of the most important things in a Christ follower’s life whether they take place alone, in a small group or at a large church gathering. They are ways for us to communicate with God. Without them our lives are not complete.
Even so I can’t say that they, on their own, will keep us safe in the storm and support and tie the weight of the entire structure of who we are to the footings. If prayer was the foundation then a simple chit chat with God should suffice. If worshipping fully links us up to God then the collective of Christ followers could tell God how great He is and make it through the storm. If reading our Bibles could carry the load then the speed reader would be the closest to our creator and therefore in the safest place.
A foundation wall does two things.
I am sure there are those who can give a much more technical assessment of the foundation, their little knowledge is in this area. For me, I’m happy with a little understanding as I have no intention of designing or building a basement anytime in the next 200 years. My little understanding tells me that the foundation holds up the above ground structure while connecting the entire building to the footings. The foundation, the “dull and boring”, is what connects me to God and God to me.
For the new follower of Christ they don’t find this dull and boring. They have discovered the link between who they are and God. Churches can be like this too; but for both the Christ follower and the collective of Christ followers, it usually isn’t long before the basement becomes boring and the footings forgotten. A new Christ follower is like the first time homeowner, they want to see every nook and cranny of the house. They are just as excited by the basement as they are by the master bedroom ensuite jet tub. It’s all new and it’s all theirs.
Down the road a year or two the basement is just a dull and boring storage area. The jet tub, on the other hand, still relaxes their tired body and still comes up in conversations with their friends. No one brags about the foundation even though there would be no house if there was no foundation.
The foundation of the Christ follower and the collective of Christ followers is love.
Without love, everything collapses. Not love like that staring and drooling type of crush, that’s too easy to outgrow. Maybe that is why we find the foundation so dull and boring, we expected it to be like a crush in high school rather than the love a father shows his child. We want the warm fuzzies but sometimes get the cold hard truth and strong discipline that only someone who has unconditional love can give.*
And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? Hebrews 12:5-7 (NIV)
* From time to time my blog will include excerpts from my book “Blueprint.” Like any author/blogger, I find it difficult to leave the words I have written in my computer until a publisher can be found. Maybe it’s because someone somewhere needs to read these words now.