sandcastle kings coverI was never great at building sandcastles. It seemed that I could never get the right amount of sand and water mixed together to create the castle of my dreams. The sand buckets we used were always the basic round buckets, leaving little opportunities for anything other than round towers. And then there was the tide. It would always come in. It was never a question of “if,” but rather, “when.” When the tide came, the sandcastle never stayed.

Rich Wilkerson, Jr., in his book Sandcastle Kings, pulls on those memory strings as he discusses the spiritually bankrupt world that we are living in and the need/desire to meet Jesus. Using four stories from Luke 7 – the centurion’s faith, the resurrection of the widow’s son, Jesus’ message about John the Baptist, and the anointing by the woman with the alabaster jar – guides the reader into taking a closer look at the many ways we build sandcastles that will one day be wiped away by the storms that will come.

Drawing influence from the parade of the wise and foolish builder, Wilkerson told me in an interview, that what he found interesting about this parable,  “is that both the wise man and the foolish man have to face the storm. Meaning, we can’t prevent storms, but we can prepare for storms. And the way you prepare for a storm is knowing what you actually built on. What is the foundation of your life.”

Wilkerson’s writing is approachable, making some of the more challenging pieces easier to digest and ponder. He calls into question the bumper sticker faith a Christian may have, encouraging that Christian to go deeper in his or her faith. He challenges the Christian to expand the expectations he or she has of how God acts. He writes, “If your God only acts in ways that you can understand, you need a new God. Yours is way too small.”

In a highly saturated consumer culture, we are faced with choices everyday. And we have to live with the consequences of those choices. Wilkerson begs that we not build our faith on things of this world (sand), but build our faith on the solid Rock. His point could be summed up in this:

“Here is what I mean when I say we shouldn’t build our lives on the world. God made a good creation. When the first humans sinned, God’s creation was corrupted, but good things remained: beauty, pleasure, good, companionship, and countless others. God created people to enjoy the good things he made even after the first humans sinned. The problem comes when we start worshiping one of these created things instead of the Creator. When we care more about the good things God has made than we care about God, we are headed for disappointment.”

This is one of the best books I’ve read recently. It’s part storytelling, part Bible study, and part theology.

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