“But Mom! You told me we would never leave this house!”
I assured my distraught son that I would never say that. It was something he longed for… never leaving his friends and the church community he had grown up in. But as a pastor’s wife, I knew that the Lord could call us to another church at any time. And He did!
Once in his new surroundings, our youngest realized he had a wonderful future where he had landed. He grew and thrived, not because of a house, but because of what the Lord had built for him and around him: his family, new friends, a new church home.
The word “house” can mean much more than a building where we live. It can refer to the people who live in that house. It can also refer to a family line or lineage, such as the house of Windsor or the house of David. It is also what we sometimes call a place of worship. A house can be anything that is established and built… a family, a company, a congregation, an institution, an organization. In each of these cases, the actual building is secondary. It’s what goes on in that building that matters the most.
A house built on sand versus rock makes sense in California where I live. We know firsthand what happens if the foundations of houses give way because they aren’t firmly anchored. The unsteady ground can quickly shift and buckle under the force of earthquakes or floods or mudslides.
If we think of a house as only a building, those warnings from our Lord Jesus have a limited application. And His warning against factions, quarrels, and dissensions — a house divided against itself — really makes no sense if I’m only thinking of a building (Mark 3:25). However, if I remember that the house our Lord Jesus is talking about is my family, my company, my business, my organization, or the people in my congregation, then I have a whole new perspective.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen “houses” built on the ruins of other people’s lives. The builder cheats, lies, and steals to create an empire, using “unjust gains” to succeed (Habakkuk 2:9). We shed no tears if that “house of cards” falls. This ugly behavior is easy to point out and condemn.
But God’s other building instructions aren’t as easy to identify. Is the Lord the One who built our house? (Psalm 127:1) Is it built with His wisdom and knowledge and understanding? (Proverbs 24:3-4) How do we know if we are following His guidance? What helps us know if we are building on solid rock? How do we know if we are leading the right way?
Our Lord Jesus tells us plainly how to recognize leaders who build according to His plan: “Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice” (Luke 6:47). When we are connected to His Word, when we listen to His voice, when we actually serve those we are leading, we are definitely building solidly. Then we can say confidently with Joshua: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15 ESV).
Someday, the “earthly tent” we live in, our human bodies, will be replaced by a “building from God, an eternal house in heaven” (2 Corinthians 5:1). What that house, that body, will look like is not clear. We only know it will be perfectly built. And we will live forever in that glorious mansion prepared for us (Psalm 23:6).
Meanwhile, we focus on our Lord Jesus, remembering we are His house right now (Hebrews 3:6), confident in the hope, and glory, and joy He promises!