Sunday, April 29, 2018

Heavenly Homes

A few years ago, actress Jennifer Anniston purchased a one-bedroom penthouse apartment in New York City for $8 million. Around that time, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg bought a $7 million home in California. It was also reported Michael Jordan was building a home in Florida with an estimated value of $20 million. The secular media doesn’t mind celebrities and athletes owning multi-million houses. Yet they will launch an “exposé” if a preacher buys (or is given) a house for a fraction of that amount.

Even some believers are critical of brethren with nice domiciles. One time a homeless man I met in Florida complained about a local pastor having a $500,000 house. Before you pity this homeless man, it should be pointed out he was a modern-day Jonah running from the call to preach. God will bless those who will obey His will for their lives. Isaiah 1:19-20 says, “‘If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; But if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword’; for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”

Every Christian will someday walk through pearly gates on streets of gold and have a heavenly mansion (John 14:1-2). A wall made up of twelve different kinds of precious stones surrounds the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21). God desires His people to live in beautiful places.

In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus prayed for the Father’s will to be done “…on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10) Joshua 24:13 talks about the Lord giving the Israelites, “…a land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.” Therefore, a Christian shouldn’t be made to feel guilty by jealous brethren for having numerous possessions including a nice home. It’s not up to any individual to dictate how much a believer should or shouldn’t have. That’s between him and the Lord.

Once I met a woman who felt led to reside with a group of homeless people in “Tent City”, a makeshift shelter in a wooded area of Mobile, Alabama. Of course, not all Christians are called to live like that. Those that are usually do so for a season to reach certain individuals. A couple times, the Lord led me to stay in a homeless shelter for the night. Despite the uncomfortable environment, it resulted in ministry opportunities.

Some missionaries like myself have traveled from city to city without a permanent home. In her book “Tramp for the Lord”, Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom wrote about living out of a suitcase for years while preaching around the world. Corrie still desired a place of her own. God eventually blessed her with one where she spent the latter years of her life.

Admittedly, there have been times I’ve considered leaving the mission field and working a regular job again to have a more “secure” lifestyle. Whenever that thought crosses my mind, I remind myself of this comment a Facebook friend posted…

“A good friend I went to college with started out in full-time ministry. He had some bad experiences and decided to become a fireman instead. I talked to him today. He is retiring with great benefits and a nice house at a young age. I told him, ‘I'm jealous of you.’ He said, ‘Don’t be, I wish I had the courage to stay with ministry. I'm jealous of you.’ Wow, kind of helped me see things in a different way.”

While still desiring my own house, I will trust God to provide one at the right time and not settle down somewhere for the sake of being comfortable. Serving the Lord occasionally requires sacrifices. However, rewards are available when a Christian is willing to give up worldly possessions and the approval of man to obey a higher calling.

“Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life.” - Mark 10:29-30

No comments:

Post a Comment