2 Samuel 7:1-12

Let me tell you about two houses.

One of those houses is straight off the cover of Architectural Digest. Its floors gleam with fresh wax; its walls are bright with unspotted hues; its drapes, its paint, its furnishings are all color-coordinated, with not one clashing item. Tasteful accents are here and there, pretending to be random but actually carefully placed, not one centimeter to the left or the right.

In this house, the climate-control system balances temperature, humidity, particle count, and the ozone level. The windows are specially treated with an electron layer that repels dust and haze both inside and out. The lighting is on sensors, so that as the day darkens, selected lights come up, slowly and gradually, keeping a soft glow in the room no matter what is happening outside. In fact, it little matters what happens outside, for the room is controlled, sealed off.

Across a carpet, on which, mysteriously, no footprints appear, stands a group of people. Their clothing coordinates with the decor of the room. They are elegantly accessorized, their teeth line up in perfect smiles, and their hair is styled and shaped. They are speaking with one another, but very carefully. Very cautiously. Cool; calm; and collected. They remind you of the answer to the old question, “How do porcupines hug each other?” “Very carefully.” That’s one house.

The other house is straight off the cover of the Antiques Road Show. Its floors, so far as we can see them, could use attention, particularly where the dog’s toenails have scratched. Its walls have on them some small grimy hand-prints, about so high, and its furnishings are a mixed bag of early orange crate and later K-Mart. Its drapes sag a little, its paint is cracked here and there, and where the magazines have been piling up, there is a coffee cup, half empty, and a pizza box, half full. It’s a little dark, as one of the light bulbs is burned out, and the other is hidden by someone’s sweater, pitched over the lamp in a hurry to go answer the phone.

On the other side of this room I see some people talking. It seems very animated. It’s a little loud; in fact, it’s an argument. They are raising their voices and waving their hands. One of them has her hands on her hips and is giving it the old foot-stomping effect, and the other is shaking his head as vigorously as his old neck will allow. Sort of tense over there. Heated. Stressful!

Now, which of these houses is a home? You see a house alone is not a home. A house is a house, and it may be lovely to look at and fine to visit, but a house, by itself, is not a home. I know which one my house is like. I also know where home is. Home is where I live. Home is not a museum-like perfection; home is where the issues of life get resolved, because home is where somebody loves you. Home is where somebody puts up with you. A house is just a shell, a showplace, a facade; a home, as the poet Robert Frost said, is where, when you go there, they have to take you in. A house is not a home. Hear the poet James Whitcomb Riley, “It takes a heap o’ livin’ to make a house a home.”

God wants to give us a home. God wants to give us what we need to make our houses homes. That’s what God did when He chose to come in Jesus Christ and make His home among us. A house is not a home; God wants more for us than a house. God wants to give us a home.

We’ll talk more tomorrow.

Message For The Day