Everyone wants to know that they are standing on something solid. Right? Or then again do we? The ways of the world have an alluring effect, even to those who are dedicated to Christ. As I listened to the song, “On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand,” my thoughts moved to the times I have foolishly chosen the sinking sand instead of the solid Rock. Sometimes, I place my toe in the quicksand, trusting that I can move away quickly. However, to my surprise my entire foot begins to sink, seeking to pull all of me down. It’s like I think, “Just a toe. It’s only a toe. Surely I can rescue a toe.” The quicksand creates a formidable pull, and one toe in allures my entire foot and soon my leg. If I don’t make a conscious decision to try to get out, I will continue sinking, though it is likely already too late.
Quicksand is defined as “loose wet sand that yields easily to pressure and sucks in anything resting on or falling into it.” In our day to day lives, one moment of a thoughtless, ill-chosen decision can create that loose sand that easily sucks in anything in its path. You might find yourself in financial quicksand, marital quicksand, or relational quicksand. Then, if one is in the habit of ranking sins, he might wrongly think there is a decision of lesser consequence: a quicksand of thoughts, a quicksand of holding a grudge, a quicksand of a negative attitude or a quicksand created by our thoughtless words toward someone else.
However, I don’t think that God ranks sin. A sin is a sin. Some carry consequences of larger proportion, affecting not only ourselves but our family and friends. Other sin is hidden, known only to that person and God. Still, to deny there are consequences to all sin is to keep our minds locked into what we prefer to notice. In truth, we prefer to think that quicksand does not even exist. This illusion is perhaps the most dangerous type of sinking sand.
Humans are amazingly good at this. Let’s think back to Eve. She thought the quicksand didn’t exist. As she plucked the fruit from the forbidden tree, she stuck her toe into the sand that would engulf her whole self, thinking, “Just a toe. Only a toe. Surely I can rescue a toe.” When Eve danced over to tell Adam that she has chosen an alternative view from God’s advice, she sparkled with this new discovery. Now, she would know as much as God. She offered the same delusion to Adam. And he ate. Only one piece of fruit. Only one toe. Together they put the entire creation into the quicksand. Paradise sank into the sand as death entered.
Their reality went from Rich Intimacy to Pain and Brokenness. That situation would become the situation of all humanity. We became helpless on our own to get out of the sinking sand. The Bible is filled with examples of toe dipping leading to sinking sand, of leaders who thought, “It’s just one toe. Only one toe. Surely I can rescue a toe.” Moses killed one man. Jacob schemed with one bowl of soup. David planned one murder. Peter hid behind one lie. None of them were successful in pulling out their toe. Their dip into sin had far-reaching consequences.
The greatest story teller of all gives us a clear example of exactly what can happen when we stand on “all other ground is sinking sand.” Jesus’ parable in Matthew 7: 24-27 puts these thoughts into perspective. Those who hear the words of Jesus and act on them, he explained, are like a wise man who builds his house on a rock. When the rains fall and the floods come along with heavy winds pounding the house, it does not fall because the house is built on a rock. In contrast, the foolish man builds his house on sand, and the pounding wind and rain easily push over the house. Only Jesus can break the power of sin in our lives. Because of Jesus, you and I have the unbelievable privilege of leaving the sin of sinking sand and choosing instead, the solid Rock. I encourage you to watch where you put your toe. This Sunday at South Side we will unpack some key points from the Parable of the Builders. Worship begins at 10:45, and we hope to see you there!
Barry Pettit is lead minister at South Side Church of Christ in Washington Court House.