Real Mission: Home Sweet Home
Since the quarantine began in mid-March, I have bought 5 gallons of paint, 3 pints of stucco, and 2 buckets of roofing tar. The realization that we are homeowners really set in as we dug a hole around the foundation of our home that would have made an undertaker proud. I’ve spent a big chunk of our savings and countless hours taking on project after project to improve an already wonderful, safe, and lovely place to live. But this particular project was about keeping rainwater out of our basement.
Being at home for months on end, I have found, can make you both grateful for a place to lay your head, and acutely aware of those things which require your attention. Home sweet home. Houses don’t come this way. They are made: by love, by laughter, by food, by nighttime prayers, and by the occasional bucket of hydraulic cement.
As important as doing the things that will turn a house into a home is, it is important to remember that the most essential function of a house is to provide shelter. Shelter is the most basic thing that we need to survive and to thrive after food and water.
a place giving temporary protection from natural elements or danger
Shelter and home are different, but every home must begin as a place of shelter. A place where we are safe from rain, snow, heat, and hail, and from the danger, even if that danger is just a hazardous mold problem.
When we found cracks in our foundation, my home turned out not to be as good of a shelter as I’d thought it was. So, late on a Tuesday night, I ripped down a wall and began to dig beneath the surface for the root of the problem.
Did you know that nearly 2 million children in our nation do not have shelter? Did you know that 1,800 of those children live here in Cincinnati, and about 500 of them are as young as my sons (under the age of 5)? Cincinnati. That hits home, doesn’t it?
At the root of the problem of homelessness is the fact that so many among us don’t have shelter: a safe place to live that is free from danger and storm. I have heard so many talk about our unsheltered neighbors as “homeless”, a societal stigma that holds weight and shame. But, that weight and shame is unjustly placed on those who are unsheltered rather than those of us who already know what home and shelter feel like and who don’t do everything in our power to help others feel the safety of shelter and home too.
Jesus once told his followers that “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head” (Matthew 8:19–20; Luke 9:57–58). It is true that Jesus himself experienced the reality of lacking shelter, but he also never went without having a home, for his home was heavenly. Can you imagine if he had not shared his home with us? What would our faith be if we had no hope of heaven? What would our lives look like if this was all there was?
Sadly, I sometimes think we are living like that. Like this world is our home, and that all the protection we can muster, and all the comforts we can secure should be stored away where no one else can get them. Jesus warned us about this way of life and compelled us to live as if our home was in heaven.
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. -Matthew 6:19-21
Like I said before, being at home for months on end can make you both grateful for a place to lay your head, and acutely aware of those things which require your attention. The lives of our unsheltered neighbors require our attention. Working diligently to secure shelter for those who lack this basic necessity is central to the message of the Gospel.
And the king will answer them, “just as you did to the least of these, you did to me.” -Matthew 6
Can you see Jesus in the stranger, and in love welcome Him? Can you reach out your hand to transform pain into joy? Can you do unto your neighbor as you would have them do unto you? I believe that you can. The body of Christ, broken for the world. Each one of you strong and capable, generous and wise.
Shelter for all is possible, and together, we’ll make heaven our home.
I wonder if gratitude for our home will help us see those things which require our attention?
Tags: Real Mission Blog