Jesus didn’t have His own house filled with all kinds of material possessions. Think about that for a minute. No car, no home office, no books, no pantry. Nothing. When it came to a house—having somewhere to call home as we say—he relied on others to meet those needs. If I’m trying to follow Jesus, then should I just rent a house or try to live in some small community where no one owns anything? Some have decided that is exactly what we should do. But, we just bought our first home. Am I no longer living how Jesus would want me to live? Why do I own anything? Why not rent, lease, and borrow everything?
This is something Candace and I discussed before we started our house search last year. Does God want us to own a house? Should we take on debt in order to have a place we can call “our own?” Can we really say we own it? Isn’t there something else we should be doing with our money? Giving it away? Saving it? Investing it? All these questions, and many more, came with our new search.
In one of my earlier posts I expressed the idea that leadership is about three things: shepherding, stewarding, and serving. Buying a house was a practical, tangible way for us to learn how to be better stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us. We’ve been trying to think of this house not as “our own” but as “a loaner.” And of course, that should be easy enough, because it actually is a loaner from a financial perspective. But we’re not thinking of it just as something the bank owns. God has given us the opportunity to live in this 1940s house located in the heart of Charlotte, and we feel it is our responsibility to make sure we live in it in a way that honors Him.
We don’t manage the yard, keep it clean, and improve it just because we bought it but because we don’t see it as exclusively our own. And we ought to see everything we have in this way—not just our house. Everything we are blessed to have are gifts from God that He wants us to enjoy, but they are also gifts He wants us to use to bless others. If we become too attached to them, they begin to take the place of God in our lives, and we won’t be able to give them away. One of the ways we try to bless others is by having people over for dinner and conversation like our friend Mary Austin Slate (you should check out her blog!) and our small group from church. We also like to have visitors spend a night or two, and we do our best to share everything we have with them.
Why does God want us to be able to give these things away? Because it is exactly what He does for us. He gave up His only Son for us. Surely we can give up something as small as a house for Him if He asks us to—or a car, some cash, and our time.
How can we call ourselves children of God or followers of Jesus if we are not willing to eventually part ways with what He has given us? Jesus was willing to give away everything—even His life. Candace and I are so compelled by this love that we cannot help but learn how to live with this mindset. And we are always looking for ways that we can be a blessing to others with the things God has given as a blessing to us.
What we have is not ours. They are gifts. And they are meant to be used in a way that honors God. What has He given you? Are you willing to part with it if, and when, He asks you to give it away?