Preaching On Overcoming A Weak Foundation

Preaching On Overcoming a Weak Foundation

The last two posts have focused on how to preach a series of messages on the family in a creative way.  This post, preaching on overcoming a weak foundation is a continuation of that theme.    By foundation, I mean the beginnings of a person’s life.

I once thought that I would build my own house, and so I bought a book about it.  There was a long chapter on how to start your house.  The point was powerfully made that if you don’t get the foundation right, the house will never be right, and you will have repeated problems.  So, whether you use a basement or a some other kind of foundation, make sure it’s right.

An Example of a Weak Foundation In A Person

When a person has a weak foundation, it will show in his/her life.  For instance, I read recently about a man who grew up in a small town in Illinois.  The town itself was a bit wild (this is a generation ago), and seemed to attract river pirates and other rough characters.  Into this town a boy was born and given the name Estel Record.

Unfortunately, Estel’s mother didn’t want to be tied down with a baby, and so, the little boy was given to his grandmother to raise.  The tragedy continued when grandma died while the child was still young.  Now the step-grandfather was given responsibility for the child.  Again, unfortunately, the stepfather was an alcoholic who would totally ignore the child during drinking binges.  And so, the boy was left fending for himself.  This meant finding food in garbage cans, or stealing it from local farms or homes.

It is not surprising, therefore, that he joined a gang as soon as he was eligible, and gained a reputation as a fighter.  Not surprising, right?

But Some Overcome a Weak Foundation

Those who study the criminal justice system in the US point out that the most common problem of criminals in federal prisons is that they had a less than ideal childhood.  That’s why preaching on overcoming a weak foundation is a good theme for one message on the family.  When you read these studies, you quickly come to the conclusion that it’s no surprise that some people end up in prison.

Anne Sullivan

But…some people overcome the weak foundation.  Think of Leonardo DaVinci, Edgar Allen Poe, Tolstoy.  Anne Sullivan, the woman who helped Helen Keller overcome her disabilities in that she was both blind and deaf, was herself partially blind and grew up in poor houses after her mother died and her father abandoned the family.  All of these had challenging beginnings, yet their lives exhibit creative and meaningful contributions to the lives of others.

Joseph’s Weak Foundation

In the Bible, there were several people with weak foundations who went on to greatness.  One of the greatest was Joseph, the 12th son of Jacob.  We saw in the last post how Jacob’s parents showed favoritism.  The story of Jacob is riddled with ways that he cheated and lied his way to prosperity.  Consider:

  • He deceives his father to get the birthright.
  • He manipulated the birth of flocks and herds for his father-in-law Laban.
  • He had multiple wives who bickered over their place in the family.
  • Maybe worst of all, he continued the favoritism that he saw his parents exercise.  Joseph, the 12th son, was his obvious favorite, getting special gifts and kept back from work in the fields.  His coat of many colors identified him as the obvious heir to the special place in the family.

It is into this complex, mixed up family, that Joseph is born and given favored status.  To make things worse, his brothers decide to sell him into slavery.  To make matters even worse, a false accusation on the part of Potiphar’s wife ends him up in jail in Egypt.

What a start for a life!  How in the world will he overcome this bad start?  We’ll explore that in the next post.  However, this reminder: preaching on overcoming a weak foundation will be helpful to many in your congregation who had less than a stellar start to their lives.  Here’s another illustration for your message: