|Posted on September 18, 2021 at 11:25 AM|
Have you heard the term “overbuilding the neighborhood?” If you’ve ever bought a home, you’ve likely been in a situation where you found the perfect house in the completely wrong location. You spy this beautiful structure that you can imagine living in – everything in pristine condition and ready for occupancy and it makes you wonder why anyone would even considering selling it. But then you look beyond the boundaries of the property it’s on and you begin to pick up on the neglect.
Practically speaking, we know to stay away from those places because no matter how attractive they might seem on the outside, the conditions of the surroundings will always affect how comfortable our life will be, and maybe even how safe. And beyond that, everything around the perfect house changes the actual monetary value of the home we want to buy. After all, if it were in the perfect neighborhood where everything was healthy and beautiful, we could never afford it.
That’s a pretty good analogy for our whole life. We spend so much time trying to make our physical structure comfortable and perfect, we lose sight of the fact that this is really just a camping spot for us – a temporary abode that, in the grand scheme of things, we will occupy for a pretty short amount of time.
But the world programs us to crave more… bigger… better. We’re taught from a very young age to never be satisfied with what we have. Even worse, we come to understand that it’s a ‘me first’ age. Selfishness is fostered in the form of being competitive, and we even feel like our identity and success is tied to the material possessions we manage to amass. Those of us who acknowledge that God is the Provider of all things can even begin to slip into a mindset that makes us believe what we have is a measure of how good He is.
But God’s yardstick is so different from ours. He shows us that we need to change our thinking – our inner man, if you will. Jesus very presence on earth, as well as His profound teachings, proved that our Father was looking beyond gestures and material possessions to capture the hearts of His children. It’s not that He doesn’t want us to have nice things or be physically content, but He is trying to teach us that it only brings temporary satisfaction and not eternal blessing. And what we have is not a measure of who we are.
Jesus said “follow Me” thirteen times throughout the Gospels. In Matthew 4:18-22 we’re told of how He called Simon Peter and his brother Andrew. Jesus told them “follow me and I will make you fishers of men.” And in verse 20 we see their response when they “immediately left their nets and followed Him.” What could they have thought of this stranger that was telling them to change their lives and give up everything precious to them to serve a population of people that could seemingly care less about their mission.
Scripture goes on to tell us that Jesus saw two more brothers, James and John, fishing with their father. In the same way He called to them and they “immediately left their boat and their father and followed Him.” He wasn’t just encouraging them to take a risk, and the words ‘follow me’ went far beyond leaving everything comfortable behind. Jesus was saying ‘come and learn from me. Help me to help this lost world.’ And they didn’t question the call, they just followed.
We’re slow to answer the call because we’re so accustomed to putting ourselves in front of everyone around us. We seem to be much more concerned with getting ahead and storing up our possessions here, thinking it will provide safety and happiness. We’ve put so much emphasis on this life – our temporary tent as it’s called in 1 Corinthians 5:1 – that we’ve lost sight of how intangible the material is.
Instead of spending so much time trying to make our homes perfect – overbuilding the neighborhood - what if we spent more time trying to make the homes of those around us more livable? Jesus told His disciples to leave their livelihoods, homes, and everything they had amassed and follow Him to find peace and completion. Because the answer wasn’t in themselves as individuals, but in us as a family. Let’s bring everyone in, Jesus said. Go out and tell the good news! Be fishers of men.
God demands it, Jesus modeled it and it is the only way to ever find that complete and total peace we all crave. Because whatever hole we’re trying to fill up with more ‘stuff’ will only truly be satisfied when we recognize it can only be made replete by God.
Be blessed my Friend, God is on the throne!