Ten years ago today we moved into our current home in Carmel. We have lived in Carmel since the fall of 1982, and this is our third home in the area. We started with a smaller place that we lived in when the kids were younger, and then, six years later, we moved to a large new home in the Woodfield area of Carmel. It was quite a place – and we lived there during the high school, and college, years of our children. We spared no expense and heavily landscaped the property as well. Janet and I thought we would live there for the rest of our lives, so we made it exactly the way we wanted it. Even as the kids grew, and started to move away and go to college, we still thought this place would be our home well into our retirement years.
But it was not to be – the business was facing stiff competition from national staffing companies; and Janet and I both thought that I should attend seminary after much prayer and counsel with Christian friends. So, we put our home up on the market and prepared to downsize. It was not an easy thing to do – admitting that you were trying to cut expenses and live more in keeping with a Christian focus on helping others. Many of our acquaintances did not understand our plans to move – and neither did many of our family members. But the truth is that Janet and I thought we would be better off in something more manageable; and affordable. Especially with me attending seminary, and giving up my day to day work in the office, we planned on my income being reduced bigtime; and we did not need the additional stress of a huge house in our lives.
As it turned out, we were fortunate to find a house, already built, that fit our needs perfectly. But we had to sell our own home first, and just when we started worrying about when that would happen, it sold. We let the builder know that we were ready to move forward, and then, on March 27, 2001, we closed on our new home. Much smaller, but very livable for where we were in our lives. And much more cost effective that having a place with a 1260 sq. foot master bedroom, and numerous unoccupied rooms. After all, it is tough to pay all the bills when you are living on $300 funerals and $350 wedding ceremonies. On top of that, I was staying up till 3:00 am every morning translating Greek and Hebrew; working harder than I had ever worked in the corporate world in my entire life.
In the midst of all this, we moved; and have never looked back. Both of us believe that it was a divine appointment that we were able to locate the place we now live. The builder was anxious to sell the property, and we needed a place to move – quickly. But the day we closed, we did something we had never done before. We dedicated this house to the service of the Lord. That’s right – we dedicated the house to God. For some reason, we finally realized that none of this earthly stuff is ours – it belongs to God. And we wanted to make sure that our home was a welcome place for people to come and visit. Since then, we have hosted Bible study each year in our home, I have done marital counseling, career transition work and a host of other ministry initiatives designed to assist people in transition. This, the name of this blog – Transitions by The Book.
When we considered ownership of the house, and everything else in our lives, we were convicted by a Bible passage – 1 Chronicles 29:11-12, “Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.”
Get it? EVERYTHING in heaven and earth belongs to God. And He has the power to bestow wealth and honor, as He sees fit. We are stewards – not owners – and it is our job to take care of all that has been entrusted to our care. And that includes the house and everything in it. So, in our minds, the best thing we can do is to dedicate it back to the Lord’s service. And that is exactly what we did.
So my encouragement tonight is to let you know that God trusts you with what he has given you to take care of. So be a good steward and use it for the advancement of the Kingdom of God on earth. And my prayer is that you will consider other ways that you can honor God in the process. Perhaps dedicating your own home to be a haven for visitors and friends; or committing to live within your means so you can be free to give generously when you sense the need to support some worthy cause. In any event, I pray that you will acknowledge that you are a steward of God’s stuff. It’s not yours. So while Janet and I are thinking about it tonight, I think we will re-dedicate our home, and the rest of our things, to the continuing work of the Kingdom of God on earth.