When we look for a house, and we’ve done that a lot, we look for a house we can resale easily.
We check the condition of the houses in the neighborhood, the schools, the amenities nearby, the churches, the amount of work we can afford to do for improvements. We don’t buy at the front of a neighborhood or at the end of a stop sign or next to a major road or behind a shopping center. We don’t buy a house that has already been updated (and never a flip house) but not one that needs major structural repairs either.
Basically, everything that makes a house a good investment for us.
And God has been incredibly gracious to us in that.
In our last home search, however, our focus shifted just a bit. We still looked at all of the variables we always had, but this time, our eyes and hearts were searching for something more. Something purposeful. Something kingdom driven.
I’m not entirely sure I had the words to even say what my heart’s desire was for our new house. It was more of a pull towards one thing and pushing away from another. Only in the past two years as God’s been teaching us about community did we begin to gain some clarity on what that was exactly.
We were looking for a place of ministry.
The Ministry of Exchanging Dreams…
A big reason our focus shifted during our last home search was because of what we had learned from my brother and his family’s last home purchase.
For years, they had been dreaming of a home back in a more familiar place. The year they finally began their search, putting their current house on the market, ready to leave their beloved neighborhood, they talked about moving back home. Close to family. Sending the kids to the schools they’d attended. Sideline cheerleaders for cousin’s soccer games and frequent family dinners and leaving the distance between grandparents and their kids behind.
So when they told us about the home they’d found, it caught me entirely off guard. It looked nothing like those plans and dreams.
But God asked them to change course, exchange their dreams, live with their hands open to receive the abundance He wanted to give them, and they did so willingly.
Instead of a house for themselves, they got a home built to love others.
Their new house belonged to a community. A community called to serve one another and their neighbors, intentionally and sacrificially.
They got new dreams. Dreams to lift up and encourage and be Jesus to their neighbors. Dreams for the lives of their neighbor’s sweet faces and eager minds and souls longing to be seen.
They released their dreams of familiar and comfortable for a life rich in calling and purpose.
The Ministry of Strategy…
When we think about our home, and the people living to the left and right of us, do we see ministry?
I see Rahab and her house.
There she is, in the home for which her sinful career provided, right along the wall, near the city gates. She didn’t purchase her home with the idea of using it for anyone other than herself and her own business.
Nothing holy about it.
But God used both her and her home to hide the two Israelite spies sent by Joshua. He used her home to save her entire family from being killed when the Israelites came to claim the land Rahab knew God had already given them.
God strategically placed her in her home, though she knew nothing of Him, to change the entire legacy of Israel and her own family. He used Rahab’s home to minister to her, her family, and the nation of Israel.
Oh, and He gave her a husband and put her in the lineage of Jesus too.
(God always goes just one step further in loving us, doesn’t He?)
We bought houses like Rahab. Thinking of them only in terms of how the houses could be used for our benefit. We acknowledged our houses were gifts from God, His provision, His protection, His love. And we were grateful.
But we missed the entire point. God gives to us so we can give to others. And maybe, just maybe, that includes our homes.
What if God has placed us strategically in our homes to be a ministry to others?
The Ministry of Giving Yourself…
Of course, your home doesn’t have to be an actual house. Those are getting harder and harder to purchase these days. So maybe that’s not where God has placed you.
Maybe you’re in a hip downtown condo or a suburban townhouse or an apartment building with the world’s smallest pool or a mobile home out in the country.
God placed you there.
I recently saw this quote from David Platt and I adore what he says here…
“If we are going to accomplish the global purpose of God, it will not be primarily through giving our money, as important as that is. It will happen primarily through giving ourselves. This is what the gospel represents, and it’s what the gospel is about.”
We share Jesus with the people in our lives when we share ourselves with them.
People living in gated communities need Jesus. People in government housing need Jesus. People in culdesacs and apartment complexes and farmhouses at the end of dirt roads need Jesus.
You share Jesus when you give of yourself to others.
The Ministry of Gratefully Supporting…
We are so grateful for what we have learned from my brother’s family intentionally loving and living and sharing with their community neighbors. It hasn’t always been easy, which is fine since God never promised us easy, but it has been worth it.
We have loved supporting them when we can and praying for them daily. Sometimes, the stories they share break my heart in the best of ways. Sometimes the stories make me laugh, often they make me think. And I absolutely adore seeing their ministry grow as Jesus grows them.
My brother says this about their lives…
“…we are there to love Jesus, who said we’d find Him in the marginalized. In church months ago, the preacher asked us to picture Jesus in our minds, and Carrie and I both pictured a child from the neighborhood knocking on our back door. He knocks, almost every day, and all we can do is answer to see how we are meant to serve Jesus that day.”
Jesus knocks on the doors of the homes He has provided you, too. He’s asking all of us if we are willing to give of ourselves.
Are you ready to use your home as a ministry for His glory?