Perhaps I’m a bit too sentimental, but it was difficult for me to move to a new house this past week. I stood alone in the doorway of my empty old house at 6494 FM 1504, and a feeling of sadness came over me. At first, I didn’t understand where the sadness came from, but as I remembered the last three years of my life, the emotion began to make more sense: I’d done a lot of living in that house! I saw the front steps where I asked Angie to marry me. I remembered giving Daniel his first “tour” of the house when he was just two days old. I thought about all of you and how so many of you have enriched our lives by spending time with us in that house. Remember the Halloween party a couple of years back when we had 47 people crammed into that little place? There have been countless Bible studies, youth devotionals, birthday celebrations, and meals shared together around our table. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many times I would hear a knock at the door and be surprised find some brother or sister standing there with a fresh baked loaf of bread or a sack of garden vegetables.
I bring all these things up not to boast, but to clarify some principles that immediately became clear to me as I stood in that doorway:
It’s not what’s in a house that counts, but Who — Some years ago there was a television show called, “Home Improvement.” Sadly, there are so few in the world who seem to know how to genuinely improve their homes. The word of God says, “unless the Lord builds the house, they who build it labor in vain” (Psalm 127:1). That means that God had better be seen in our homes if we really want to create the kind of memories that count! Zacchaeus was more than just a “wee little man” as our children sometimes sing. The Bible says he was rich (Luke 19:2). Yet, when Jesus said He was coming to stay at the house of Zacchaeus, this rich man hurried to welcome the Savior joyfully (Luke 19:6). Jesus pronounced a blessing on the house of Zacchaeus that was greater than all the riches this world has to offer: “Today salvation has come to this house” (Luke 19:9). Has Jesus been seen in your house? Does your family see Him in the way you speak, the way you act, and the attitudes you exhibit? Jesus is what truly makes a house a home!
Our lives are marked not by the possessions we own, but by the people we touch — Frankly, I realized this week that I have a lot of worldly possessions. However, when I began to think about what has mattered in my life over the past three years, the memories were of people, not “things.” Jesus said, “Take heed! Beware! For a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). Every possession we have is a trust, a stewardship from God. Like the five-talent man, God expects us to use our blessings to prosper His kingdom (Matt. 25:21). Selfishness and covetousness keep us from being the kind of people who make a difference in the lives of others. May God help us all to see our houses and “things” merely as tools we can use to love others more.
God blesses movers — I hope that no single house ever becomes too much my home. God has told us in His word that we are just “resident aliens” here, and that we can expect a lot of upheaval because of that (cf. 1 Pet. 2:11-12). Abraham was a mover. So were Moses and Joshua and Caleb. Ruth, Ezra, Ezekiel, and even Jesus Himself did not count this world to be their home. Paul wrote that, “our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20). The point is this: all of us need to put the kingdom and righteousness of God first in our lives, because our real home is not of this world (Matt. 6:33). God blesses movers with a life of adventure through our faithful obedience to Him! —JB