He alone loves the Creator perfectly who manifests a pure love for his neighbor.
– Venerable Bede
Over the last month, my family and I have been packing up all of our belongings in preparation to transport them to our new home across town. You see, God has given us an amazing opportunity to get out of the house that has major issues (structurally and otherwise), into a home which has been maintained with utmost care. Even still, it was a very hard decision for my family to make. We LOVE our neighbors at the house we are in now. Two of our neighbors go to church with us. Across the street is a retired couple who adore our boys. However, we would have to give up our family dog whom we’ve had for three years if we moved.
At the new house, we would have more space, a newer (in age) space, less yard maintenance, further away from the local grocery store where the prices are much higher and easy to walk to on a whim, a perfectly measured out 1.1 mile loop for race training and other members of our church live there. There were definitely pros and cons to both places.
Two weeks ago, I was sitting in church and our pastor introduced his 4 week sermon series that he was kicking off that week. Guess what it was about…Money. Yes Money. We’ve all heard those sermons before…
- “You aren’t fully trusting God unless you are giving your tithe, or 10% of your income.”
- “Money is the root of all evil…don’t hold on to your money too tightly.”
- “We have an exciting time coming up for our church family! We are going to triple the size of our church’s structure. We need you to commit to tithing and an extra 10% because let’s face it, Baby needs a new pair of shoes!”
- “We are going to take up a love offering to help the poor. Give more than you want to because if you don’t you will go home and your cabinets will catch on fire, your house will collapse and your family dog will fall out with convulsions.”
Ok no maybe not the last two verbatim, but don’t you feel like that sometimes after money sermons? Yea I know the feeling. This time it was different. Instead of “Give give give or you are going to hell,” Pastor Scott made some very good points. He told us that giving is more than just a concern of financial means. It also includes time and talent. Money is such a small part of it. The big part of all of the “giving” a Christian is called to do deals with discipleship and our relationship with God. He made the main point like this:
Until you realize that you were bought at a price, through Christ, and everything you you are and have are his, you will never understand what is being asked of you as a Christian. Your mind, body, soul, house, family, money, time…it’s all Gods that He has given to use to use for his glory! It’s not yours to begin with. Use those things as he would use them.
For some reason, it really hit home with me. Not really the money part but the part that our home doesn’t belong to us, that he gives us the home we are supposed to have so that we can serve him with it by way of outreach, ministry use and whatever else he decides to do with it. There is no reason we should have been able to obtain this home, so it became the focus of my thinking and praying. “God are you telling me that we should move to this new home because you have a plan to use it for your glory?” Hummmm, I camped there for the rest of that Sunday.
The next day I got my phone out to read my reading plan for that day. I am reading the bible through in a year, chronologically. Currently I am in Isaiah, chapter 40ish, or I was at the time. Anyway, my childcare kiddos had arrived by that time so I selected the “read to me” option. I push play and am floored because instead of reading the scripture like it was supposed to, a sermon by Malcom Heading came on from almost a year ago. Guess what the first thing was he said…
You were bought with a price! Don’t you know that everything you have has been given to you by God? All of it is his on loan to you for you to use for his Will. Your body, mind, soul, house, family, money, time…all of it is on loan from him and he could take it away at any moment if you aren’t using it for what he’s given it to you for…
I could…NOT…believe what I was hearing. Two days in a row, nearly the exact same message. Clearly God was telling me what we were supposed to do. Clearly he has a plan to use that house for something big and he wants my family to be the ones to carry it out. Who was I to say no?
That day we agreed to take the property and had our pastor over to pray a prayer of submission to what God wants for us in this season of our lives. I had decided the first thing I would do once we got in the new home was to go around and meet the neighbors as I do each time we move to a new area. I fully plan to make little baskets to give each family as a friendly way to establish a positive relationship. Soon I will do a blog on what exactly I plan to give each family but right now I’m still not 100% decided. There’s a conversation going on over on facebook if you want to give your ideas.
Fast forward to last week. Our church has just started a new outreach ministry called “S.H.A.R.E.” which stands for Share Him And Reach Everyone. I am planning to sign my family up for their outreach opportunities so figured I’d see what their upcoming events were. Take a wild guess what the one in November is…yep… “Neighborhood Outreach.” Looks like I will be starting that one early and then following up with them in November! Just another bit of confirmation for God himself.
We have been in the transition stage for a couple of weeks now and will complete this portion of the move on the 23rd and 24th of August. Stay tuned for more updates and to witness God’s full plan with this house. I, like I said before, will be sharing the friendship baskets with you all. Please be praying that God uses these baskets as a way to open up communication and fellowship with those who will be living right around us. Mother Teresa says we need to be concerned with our neighbors. I pray that our family can be that light of hope in our neighborhood.
In parting, let me show you what our school room is shaping up like:
My goal is to have it look like a normalish room as people walk in but then from inside the room it is supposed to look more exciting and fun for the kids. I still have a few things to bring in but all in all it’s coming together.