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What Holds You Up?

In a tiny nation known for its over-sized opulence, a new sovereign was crowned in 2010 as the world’s tallest building. The Burj Khalifa opened that year at a staggering 2,717 feet tall – more than half a mile high. It easily overshadows the previous tallest building (Taipei in Taiwan is but 1,671 feet tall) and it stands double the height of the renowned Empire State Building.

Providing apartments, office space, and hotel accommodations to 12,000 people, the Burj Khalifa, built at a cost of $1.5 billion, captured several other world records. Those include:

o Tallest man-made structure: (previously Warsaw radio mast – 2,121 ft);

o Building with most floors: 160 (previously Willis Tower – 108);

o Highest elevator and world’s fastest elevators (40 mph);

o First world’s tallest structure to include residential space;

o Highest outdoor observation deck (on the 124th floor);

o World’s highest mosque (located on the 158th floor);

o World’s highest swimming pool (76th floor);

This is a gigantic building! Yet, while most attention focuses on its height, perhaps more important is what lies buried beneath the building. Without a solid foundation, the world’s tallest building would become the world’s longest pile of rubble. Extending 164 feet deep under the Burj Khalifa lies 58,900 cubic yards of concrete weighing over 120,000 tons. It took a year just to build the foundation. A year.

So it is with great lives. What people see - what we marvel about – are the great heights to which some people seem to soar. Yet, supporting any truly great life is a solid foundation. A heralded career is built on foundational principles like dependability and hard work. A celebrated sixtieth wedding anniversary results from deep love and selflessness. Successful retirement depends on years of responsible money management.

A simple carpenter, who also happened to be the architect of the universe and the engineer of life, offered this sage advice about building a life to last. “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock” (Matthew 7:24-25).

Foundation matters. We cannot start wrong and expect to finish right. Reach high in your life! But remember first to start with a solid foundation.

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