Building on Firm Foundations
What are we building our lives on?
by Rachel Bird (revised, originally published in 2005)
Suitable for Whole School (Pri)
To reflect upon the story of the wise builder and the foolish builder.
Preparation and materials
- Have available the game Jenga, or a similar building blocks game, and set up the tower of blocks before the assembly. Place the tower on a table at the front so that all of the children can see and where there is access from all sides for when the game is played.
- Optional: you may wish to show the following images of foundations, in which case you will also need the means to do so:
- concrete foundations for a house, available at: https://tinyurl.com/yde3xvqw
- corner view of foundations, available at: https://tinyurl.com/qvdw5cv
- concrete basement foundations, available at: https://tinyurl.com/tnpk4op
- Show the tower of Jenga blocks (or another building blocks game).
Ask for volunteers to come to the front and play a game of Jenga (or two games if the first one is very short). In the end, the tower will undoubtedly collapse.
Ask the children why the tower collapsed. Look for answers such as ‘it was unstable’, ‘the base (foundation) was wobbly’ and ‘the builders weren’t the best’.
- Introduce the word ‘foundations’. Ask what it means and why foundations are important.
Listen to a range of responses.
- Explain that foundations are what underpins a building. They form a solid base. Even though they can’t be seen, they are probably the most important part of a building, because without foundations, the building would fall down. If the foundations are weak, the building is not going to stay standing for long.
- Explain that Jesus told a story about two people who wanted to build themselves a new house. If the children are likely to know the story, you can draw it from them in questions. If not, tell it as below (it can be found in Matthew 7.24-27).
The Two Builders
Two men both wanted a new house and each decided to build it himself. The first man decided to build his house with firm foundations, so he dug deep into the rock. He chose strong ground to build his house on. The second man, however, decided to build his house on the sand instead.
After the houses were finished, there was a massive storm. The rain poured down, the rivers flooded and the wind buffeted the houses. The house with solid foundations stood firm; it did not fall down because it was built on solid rock. When the rain poured down and the wind buffeted the house built on sand, however, it fell down with a crash.
- Jesus said that when we’re listening to his words about how to live our lives, we’re being like the wise builder: building our lives on the rock. Just as a house needs firm foundations, so do our lives. Christians believe that God can help us to build good foundations.
Time for reflection
Have you ever fallen over? Lost your footing because the ground is unstable? That’s what it can be like when our lives don’t have firm foundations. Christians, and believers of other religions, believe that faith in God combined with our friends and family give us strong foundations for our lives. They are really important.
Think about the story of the wise man building his house upon the rock. What are the firm foundations of your life? Family? Friends? Your beliefs?
You may wish to listen to a range of responses or give the children time to think about their response.
Thank you that you offer us firm foundations to build our lives on.
Help us to trust you, especially when times are hard.
We pray for our friends and families, too:
Help us all to support one another.
‘The building song’ (Come and Praise, 61). A version is available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1oEZfyCTqI (1.08 minutes long)