This summer, Janet and I are coming up on our 39th anniversary. And during that time, we have lived in a number of places. First, an apartment on in Darien, IL, then a condo in Downers Grove, IL, followed by 2 more houses in the same suburb, a home in Inverness, IL, a move to Carmel, IN, and then two subsequent homes in Carmel, where we still reside. Ironically, it was eleven years ago today that we closed on the home that we currently occupy. In fact, in another 18 months, we will have lived here longer than in any home during our entire marriage.
What brings this all to mind is that we are in the process of buying a home for Kristin to live in with the boys after her divorce. We have already signed the contract and are awaiting closing. We had the inspection several weeks ago and it was done by Steve Smith, or should I say Dr. Steve Smith, the former Dean of the seminary I attended. He has made his livelihood throughout the years building homes and some time ago he became licensed as an inspector to augment his income. It was a joy to have him do this for us. He was joined by another devout Christian, Bob, owner of a local HVAC company, who also weighed in on the major environmental systems of the house.
When the work of the inspection was done, Bob, Steve, Kristin and I stood in the dining room and prayed that God would bless the house and all who entered it. Of course, we also dedicated it to the service of the Lord. Perhaps this was premature, but it felt right. After all, we don’t own the house yet, but I didn’t know if Steve would ever be back there and it was important that we made sure that we had our hearts and minds right to serve the Lord with this new endeavor. But that wasn’t the first time that we have dedicated a home.
Eleven years ago today, after we closed on our current house, we came “home” and before we moved anything in, we went through the house and asked for God’s blessing and that this would be a safe place for all those who entered. And we continue to pray that this place is a haven for all. Since moving here, we have started a ministry, taught a Bible study in our home and God has blessed us abundantly. They are the same kinds of blessings that I would wish for others. But we weren’t sure that we could even afford this place.
After all, I was getting ready to head to seminary and we could no longer afford the lavish lifestyle we had enjoyed for many years. Janet and I both knew that it would be a tough row to hoe for me to attend school and be able to continue to earn enough money to keep our “big” house. So we sold it and moved to this neighborhood. It was an act of divine providence that we ended up in a home that met all of our criteria while being within our financial limitations and in a location that was comfortable and familiar to us.
Homes have always been important to us. Not for their size, or the stuff they held, but because they embody memories that Janet and I have shared for almost four decades. Our children, and now grandchildren, have made those memories even more significant. Whether it is the recollection of making Steak Diane for Janet in our first apartment or roasting marshmallows on the fire pit last Sunday, the things that have happened in our homes are priceless.
So now, Kristin is getting ready to embark on another season of her life with her three boys. Of course, we hope that it will be a home of happy recollections and a place of healing from all the hurt the family has been through. It’s a bonus that the kids will be able to stay in their same schools and that all this will take place within 6 blocks of where we live. Truly a God sized miracle. But that’s the way God is – He does stuff bigger and better that we could ever plan ourselves.
The verse for tonight reflects the thought that the home is a place of worship and honor for our Lord. From Joshua 24:15, we read, “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” My encouragement this evening is to make sure that you recognize that your home is a place of refuge and that it is a sanctuary for worship. My prayer is that you will remember that your home should also be a safe place, a place of welcome, healing and education for all who enter. After all, God honors the family and the home is the center of the family unit. And if you haven’t dedicated your house to the service of the Lord, it’s not too late. Just gather your family around and ask God to honor your desire to serve Him through the use of your home. Grace and peace,