In a society that teaches us to value things as much or in some cases more than people we find ourselves easily giving way to developing unhealthy attachments to stuff. Looking at our attachment to places, and things that we have today, when I think about Abraham’s ability to be obedient to Yah in moving from the place he called home, and not just the place he called home, but also the city he grew up in to follow God I am inspired. The challenge we face today as we grow older in the place that housed our memories of yesterday is being able to leave when the home that cherished our accomplishments and memories has outgrown or overgrown its usefulness and practical benefits. Realizing the seasons of life that we all must make, the notion of a “forever home” seems limited and counterproductive to having life and being healthy.
Unhealthy attachments are no more apparent then the hoarder in us who holds on to every single thing. The thought that we would miss it once it’s gone although we do nothing with it while in our possession. The concern of others taking that very thing that we aren’t using but in effect burying it is better than putting it in the hands of someone who can make something out of it. We’d rather that thing die with us then live for someone else. Not realizing that we are liken unto the person that Jesus condemned who had one talent and buried it rather than see it prosper in the hands of somebody else. Ultimately, what was Jesus response? He gave it to the person who had five talents and did something with it and condemned the person who had the talent and buried it into outer darkness. (Matt. 25:14-30) This person Jesus called wicked and slothful, harsh words, yet daily I myself am convicted with all the stuff I accumulate and continue to hold on to but not finish. Bottom line we at some point must ask ourselves questions about the things that are in our life and begin to assess why they are there otherwise we will continue to accumulate things and have more and more tasks undone.
Anything ignored long enough in our lives will decay
Many of us have held on to homes like trophies, as though they are a statement of a battle that was won by us. Yet, like decade long trophies that have been won we neglect them. Homes that we spent many years in and collected many cherished memories from have become worn, dusty, and neglected in some cases not even mirroring it’s former self. A sad picture of winning a battle and finding out that the fight was not worth it. Almost indicative of all the effort and resources put into fighting in the Vietnam War, and soldiers who altered the course of their lives coming back worn, beaten, and emotionally wounded faced not a heroes return, but an ambush from the very people they served.
So what is the answer? If indeed we are of the Seed of Abraham then why aren’t we doing what Abraham did? As I consider more and more the stance he took in light of the challenges we face today, his ability to leave his home, the place he grew up to go somewhere not knowing where he would end up I am amazed. Many of us even when it is economically, physically, and functionally impractical for us to live in our homes would rather die than leave. Based solely on emotional attachments that we develop over stuff. Many of us if we only had 10 minutes to pack and get out of our homes to save our lives wouldn’t know what to leave behind. We value so many things that really hold very little value that we would rather die with our stuff then access what was really important then leave the rest behind. In a digital world we have the ability to digitize pictures of all the beautiful artifacts we have gathered over time and hold all those memories for future generations on a disk that we can fit in a purse. Allowing ourselves to free our minds and our space of furniture that is no longer useful to us, as well as homes that have served their purpose. However, I implore you to think differently those who will not make it in the times that we face ahead are those who would rather die living in yesterday rather then live today with a ready to change mentality to grab hold to tomorrow.
I believe our society is structured to dismantle families. We have communities that cater to segments of society rather then expanding to accommodate all of society. This is what I mean by an integrated approach to living. Scripturally we see that our Lord and Savior is preparing a place for His bride. Notice that this place accommodates multiple generations. As He is describing a house for us that is within the huge space that will be shared with the owner of the house being His Father. (John 14:2) Of course we are talking about a community that will have none sick, but you get the picture. Why aren’t communities built to accommodate sustaining relationships through time? Why aren’t relationship building the pinnacle point of the community? I don’t know the answer for why this isn’t the norm, but I do know the solution for sustainable change. Building a community that is sustainable to allow for those who purchase to acquire space that meets their lasting needs. We know that all of our lives are in cycles. No one knows this better than those who are much older than myself as they have entered every cycle of life. Yet, this is not how our society functions. On one level it really bothers me that my parents who have had the steadiness in their life to achieve home ownership and live amongst the neighbors that built the community they reside in from its conception find themselves in a position that as they are now getting older and the needs that they have, have changed may have to find themselves leaving that community for no other reason then the community did not consider the aging factor of it’s inhabitants.
This had to be something they knew as homes even during my parents time was built on 30 year mortgages. Which implies that the resident at least plans on spending 30 years in that house if not more. Or at least the potential to do so is there, yet developers didn’t have the fortitude to consider that at some point these people would have children who would be grown and leave, parents who would get old and no longer need to have these huge monstrosities, yet would develop an attachment to not only the space, but the place of their home because of those who would be around them. Relationships are the appropriate things to build and to establish and maintain, at least if they are healthy ones. Yet, even this can’t be an excuse not to move when the writing is on the wall. Again, we see with Abraham that his directive from God was to leave his fathers house, and his kindred.
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee:
Our unwillingness to move when it is so clear that God is directing us to can shorten more than our attention span, but our lifespan. We say things like “you’d have to carry me out of here in a body bag.” Should we really be that attached to a piece of property, especially when it’s not the land that was promised to us. Now please, don’t get it twisted for the right piece of land I think we ought to fight for, but the land that we reside in is far from the Promise Land that has been given to us, so the question is why are we fighting to own real estate in Egypt when the Promise Land is over the Jordan? Those who don’t properly assess the time we are living in and the place that we are, and the attitude we should have about the place we reside may find ourselves eating wholeheartedly the words that we speak and literally die in that home in which we are being told to leave.
Then again perhaps that is the plight of the Baby Boomer generation. During a time when there was such a struggle and a fight for every inch of anything that was owned. Especially in the African American community when we finally had a chance to own something, to reach a status that had been denied to the generation before them, how could they not get attached? I get it, the facade that we could ever really own something here is the brass ring that our ancestors for generations and generations have striven to achieve, and perhaps only now in my generation is there a beginning of a call back to home. An understanding that no matter how hard we fight, no matter how many pennies we save, the reality is the American dream will always be simply that a dream. The reality is while this dream has affected us psychologically for a longer period of time than many other nationalities represented the truth of the matter is the dream hasn’t been realized by those rich or poor, neither white nor black. Simply put because an injustice to any people is an injustice to all people, and while we may like to compare ourselves to other nations and measure our successes by their failures, the truth is we have a lot more dirt that has yet to fully surface to deal with. While it is true that we provide a land of opportunity for so many nations that face impoverished situation, we are still a far cry from living up to the eloquent words penned on the papers that our founding fathers wrote.
The reality is it was necessary for us to come to this complete circle to only find the tug at our hearts for more then these borders can hold, and realize there is a world outside of this country without walls that we have yet to explore. Quite simply a call home, once again as in the time of Abraham God is calling his children out of the systems of this nation, out of the comforts and conveniences of the lands that we have inhabited, and bringing us into the wilderness. Only those with a tenacity and determination like Abraham will be able to weather the emotional and physical roller coaster this journey will take us on, it is not a journey for the weak or unprepared. But for those who are diligent and determined to achieve great things for the Kingdom of God. As Paul described Demas, we ought not to love this present world as some will do and forsake the brethren, but strive to build the world that is to come. (2 Tim. 4:10)
I believe that world will be an integrated community where the only litmus test will be do you have a relationship with Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God? Are you His bride or a guest at the party? Will you be given keys to the Kingdom or will you be one who must knock at the door with limited access? Which kingdom are you trying to build? Are you like Abraham who was looking for a city whose builder and maker is God or are you building your own kingdom in this life? Are you chasing dollars, chasing dreams, or chasing God? We cannot serve two masters either we will serve God or mammon. Either we are working for the unrighteous mammon or for the righteous Manna that came from heaven? We ultimately must decide what is really important and make that our priority.