Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Our house is a very very very nice house...

I wonder if it's possible to love a house too much? Maybe it's different if you move around a lot, like our friends in the military and a lot of preachers I know... But Rebekah and I are suckers, we always manage to fall in love with our home.

We lived in two houses during our Pensacola tenure; five years in a little patio home and then nine in a classic 1954 ranch that had personality to spare. Here in Brandon we've enjoyed over 12 years at this address thus far, gradually shaping what was always a good house into this awesome place we love so much today.

But every time we do something creative that enhances the property or increases its "value" we have to ask ourselves: Could we leave this house if that's the direction God has in mind? Or are we beginning to allow something we possess to take on all the characteristics of a great treasure with the potential to hinder our willingness to be "In the flow" of God's purposes...?

Jesus said what we treasure turns out to be a good indication of exactly where our heart hangs out too. It always bothers me when any item on our expense list involves more monthly dollars than out tithe. We've never compromised that part of our budget and I'm happy to say that our charitable giving as a whole has grown to between 13% and 15%.

Then there are predictable times when specific line items necessarily go through the roof because of circumstance. The few years we had two teens on our car insurance the "auto expenses" line went berserk! Then there were the years we regularly sent more money than we had to various universities. But the home is a constant; and while I'd love to spend more actual dollars on God's work than our house, that reality is still a long time coming.

So what to do?
  • First, we understand that everything we've been given is to be held in trust; stewardship involves honoring the trust God has placed in us.
  • Next, Rebekah and I must be careful to hold even the home that we love lightly. What I mean is that we should always be willing to let this place go without resentment or regret. If a hurricane destroys the concrete and mortar we still have a home; if we are called to move somewhere else and live in a two-bedroom apartment, same thing...
  • Finally, it's impossible to lose perspective when we turn daily attention to the real source of our stability and security and hope. That means we love God with all our heart and our soul and our strength and our mind, that we love our neighbor as ourselves; and that we remember that we love each other and that our relationships give us more security than any house ever erected on any plot of land.
This is a good life. We really do love this house. We may even remodel the kitchen this year. But that is not what defines us.
Love and blessings - DEREK

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