these last two weeks we have begun a new series at church entitled "home improvement," in which we are taking a look at the state of our homes. it has nothing to do with furnace repair or roof maintenance, but about the state of our relationships.
we began last week by considering the words of joshua, when he had seen the people wander away from God, choosing to worship false idols instead, and he gathered the people to him and said, "choose this day whom you will serve, but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." now, i realize that most of us aren't bowing down to a golden calf, nor are we keeping a bust of our favorite pop star in a shrine in our living room, which we pray and make sacrifices to on a regular basis. however, that's not to say that we don't have idols. and when it comes to our families, i think this is particularly true.
let's face it: family life is tough! things don't always go smoothly. there is disappointment, there is vomit, there is conflict, and there is frustration, just to chip away at the tip of the iceberg. after awhile, we can become exhausted with all that goes into maintaining a family life, and rather than deal with it, we begin to believe the lie that there is nothing to be done, and we become content to settle into a kind of numb distraction. we watch tv. we run kids around to various activities. we take care of the mail and the bills and the banking. and the distractions keep us from facing what is most needed in our home. and so the distractions become our golden calf. they keep us from following God, and from hearing the voice of God calling us to repentance, humility, and love.
so we are content to listen to our headphones, run errands, eat quickly, and limit our interaction to the smallest kind of small talk. and somehow we have convinced ourselves that this is good enough. as if a statue will ever replace the living God.
and all the while, our home is falling apart. it is leaning and decaying and rotting, and, as long as the tv works, we try and remain blissfully unaware. sure, it inconveniently raises its ugly head at times, but we do our best to try and forget as soon as possible.
well, at our church, we are using the new year as an opportunity to climb out of our willful ignorance and into a commitment to face the issues in our homes. no, it isn't always pretty or easy. but it is necessary.
and we also are recognizing that we can't do it by ourselves. "unless the lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain." so, we are asking God to help us build. we are asking God to open our eyes to the areas where the home is slipping and leaning, decaying and becoming unstable. but we also know that we can't simply do nothing, and expect God to just fix it all while we are running to dance rehearsal., no, it has to be something that God does in our hearts and in our relationships, with our help. we must be cobuilders with God. and if are, if we build with God; if we set aside our tv remotes and smartphones long enough to look at one another and listen to one another, God can build us into a beautiful home.