I was in Dallas Monday evening and before I went to bed, I checked my Facebook account and found that there was a tremendous amount of activity surrounding the fact that Carmel, IN, was apparently just voted the #1 best place (population 50,000-100,000) to live in the country. Although it has periodically appeared near the top of the list, this is the first time that it has garned the #1 spot. And to be be honest about it, there is quite a celebration going on in Carmel.
When we moved there 30 years ago this Labor Day, little did I realize that Carmel would become the progressive city that it is today. And although I miss Chicago from time to time, I have to admit that Indiana, specifically Carmel, has been a great place to raise our children, and now, three of our grandchildren. Andrew and his family live in Fishers, one town over, and it made the list as well as number 12. But Carmel landed the top spot.
In part, it is due to the progressive building that has gone on. From the new Palladium concert venue, to the scores of roundabouts and the construction of through traffic routes to reduce disruptions, Mayor Brainard, a friend of mine, has done a masterful job during his 4 terms in office to bring Carmel to the forefront of national attention.
In addition to the aforementioned items, we also have, according to the report by CNN Money Magazine, an unemployment rate at about 50% of the national rate. And since we don’t have any mountains, lakes or seas near us, we have to concentrate on restaurants, schools and low crime rates to get us a good look by the people who visited more than 300 sites to rank those in contention. By the way, the last time the list came out, in 2010, Carmel was #14.
There are all sorts of stats about the community as well. For example, the average age is 34.4 years old with more than 2240 restaurants within 5 miles. There are only 11 property crimes and 1 personal crime per 1000 residents. And the students in the schools score an average of 35.4% above the state average in reading with a corresponding increase of 33.4% in math studies. Job growth has been 26.44% in the last decade and the average income is $129,714 per year – the average home is worth $268,750. By now, I am sure that you are asking, “So what?” Exactly my point. Because each of us much decide for him/herself what is important to us in a community where we reside.
I guarantee you that the people in Fishers don’t want to live in Carmel – I daresay, my friends in Greenwood and other areas around the state don’t want to live there either. Ironically, I was talking with a friend of mine from New Orleans Tuesday morning, and she doesn’t want to live there either. In fact, she can’t figure out why anyone would want to live in Indiana.
To most people, she probably has a point. But for Janet and me, we like it just fine and can’t imagine living anywhere else. I always like coming back home. But the Bible tells us that even Carmel, IN won’t compare to what awaits us in heaven. The end of the book of Revelation gives us quite a glimpse of what that will be like. Instead of roundabouts, there will be streets of gold. And although I don’t normally do this, I have included the description of heaven as recorded by John when he was given a look at what heaven will be like.
We are told in Rev. 21:11-22:10 (intermittent selections), “It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel.
The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide… The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone… The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass…
The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp… On no day will its gates ever be shut, for there will be no night there… Nothing impure will ever enter it… Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city… No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.”
You know what? Eventually, I want to live there. It sounds much better than Carmel. My encouragement this evening is that God has a better place for you to live, eternally, than where you live now. He guarantees it. My prayer is that you will be a steward of the place that God has given you to live in today and that some day, you will reside in the New Jerusalem, with God and all His glory. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…