Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A Mansion or a Shack?

In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you.  I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.  –John 14:2, 3 (KJV)

After 17 years of living in the church parsonage, Andrea and I have decided the time has come to purchase our own home.  However, nothing has come available to us yet.  Either someone else bought the house or it just did not “feel right.”  I also believe the Lord is teaching us patience in the process as well.  Just last week, we were about to look at a house and the realtor was having trouble getting into the lockbox, so he called another realtor to make sure he had the correct code.  I watched as his expression changed.  “I see,” he said.  “I’ll tell him.”  He then said to me, “I am so sorry, but an offer has just been accepted on this house.” 

I think the realtor was bracing himself thinking I would be upset.  Instead, I burst out laughing.  I assured him this was not a problem and the Lord was simply closing the door on yet another house.  When we have the peace of Christ in our hearts, even disappointments become blessing because we know all things work together for the good  for those who love God and are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28). 

These days, thanks to the Internet, people can search for a new house with a few clicks of a mouse.  I was searching homes on a web site the other evening when I came across something that made me smile.  I saw one listing, a beautiful home just a few miles from us, with a price tag of 1.2 million.  Further down the page I found another, in a less expensive neighborhood, for $13,000.00.  Next to the online listing were the bold letters, “Reduced!”  I couldn’t help but look at the pictures of this home being let go at such a bargain basement price.  The humble little house appeared ancient with wood siding, tin roof, and several boarded up windows.  The pictures made me think a strong wind might blow the entire structure over. 

As I compared the two houses, one a veritable palace and the other a shack, I thought of my pastor friend who spent a few weeks on mission in Africa.  He told of a pastor there who lived in a house where there was no running water, no electricity, and few amenities of any kind.  The pastor’s home had a dirt floor and scant furnishings.  While there, my pastor friend told of how the African pastor was able to acquire a bicycle to use for visiting the members of his congregation (They met in an open air building which was little more than a roof on stilts).  The pastor was thrilled with the bicycle and praised God for the blessing of his new form of transportation.  No doubt, the African pastor would see the $13,000.00 house as living in luxury.  The million-dollar house would be incomprehensible to him – as it is to me as well.  For countless people living in the world, what we would call a shack, they would call a mansion.

My friends, Jesus promised to provide for us a mansion in heaven one day, better than anything we can imagine.  In the meantime, let us be thankful, for God has provided and He knows what we need.  As for Andrea and I, we’ll keep looking.  Our “mansion” is out there somewhere I am sure.

God bless you today.