Some of you–long time readers and those of you who know me in real life–are probably familiar with our church journey. Suffice it to say, the Lord has been faithful to us in countless ways, not the least of which is providing us with the financial wherewithal to purchase twenty acres with the long range vision of a permanent meeting location. How amazing is that! To God be the glory! Being a part of this, the Lord’s work, is so exciting and amazing and incredible and nearly every other superlative I can think of; it is also humbling and daunting and nearly every other description of the kind of state that reminds us again and again it is His work, His grace, His glory, His church.
Anyway, in thinking along those lines I wanted to share with you an excerpt of our church newsletter this week concerning the land and our stewardship of it. It’s a guest post of sorts by my pastor Brad Williams (who blogs, when he blogs, at Sojourner), posted with his permission of course…
So Now We’ve Got Some Land!
We have, officially, made one payment on the twenty acres that we bought. Pretty soon, we are going to make another payment on it. Currently, it is growing weeds that Steve and Todd are graciously mowing down with their bush hogs. It is even pretty rough for that. I think that Todd broke a blade and Steve had his kidneys rattled out of place on the back side of the property. They also found lawn chairs, tires, bottles, and all sorts of interesting things lying there under the deep the grass.
This chunk of property that we have is our most expensive asset. It is going to cost us even more in the future. We need to have it smoothed out so it can be mowed without fear of our brethren being bucked off their tractors. We also need to take down the bank on the front side so we can level off the front for more space to build. We need to kill the thistles and sow grass. We have to figure out a way to keep the “creek” at the low part of the property from becoming a mosquito swamp. This is even before we smooth out the ground so we can pour concrete and build a building.
But I have big dreams of what this property could look like one day. I dream of turning the potential mosquito creek into a beautiful pond with a pier and a little gazebo. I think it would be lovely to have a walking track go around it. Instead of seeing thistles and wild weeds, I dream of a lovely stand of Bermuda grass. On the high side of the property, I can envision a stand of Leland Cypress trees providing a beautiful backdrop for our pond and walking track. This does not even include the nice building I dream about that overlooks this picturesque scene in my mind. Wouldn’t all that be beautiful? Maybe you can even dream up a better picture!
Here is the reality: while that piece of property is our single most expensive asset, it is not the most valuable. Not even close. Even if we fix it up to be the grandest property in the county, it will be unable to produce a single follower of Jesus Christ. It will never even make a single payment for its own upkeep, much less support a missionary in Argentina. It is, in the end, a tool. It is a thing that will come to reflect us as a church, and it will demonstrate where our priorities lie in the way that we use it.
So here is how we ought to be dreaming when we dream. Think of that little piece of weedy ground as the future mission headquarters. Think of it as a launching pad. From that place, in this town, we will provide a haven from the enemy and lies that he tells. As a mission headquarters, it will be a place where we teach others what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It is a place where we will come for encouragement, camaraderie, and to regroup. It will be a place where the gospel of Jesus Christ is taught and cherished. There, we will gather, and from there we will disperse back into the community, and even the uttermost parts of the world, to carry the gospel we love to both family and stranger.
So what is the most valuable asset we have? The gospel, of course. The gospel is the reason we bought the place. The gospel is the reason for which this church exists. And secondly, our greatest resource is our friendship with each other and our shared dreams for this world. It is our unity of purpose to rescue as many as we can from the lies of the devil, to hold back those who are venturing down the paths of unrighteousness, snatching them away from the fire they are headed for. Let’s build this property, not because we are building a building, but because we are building a kingdom as God is building His church. This church. We can touch the world. We can make a difference. And by the grace of God, we will.