This is the first home that I have legally owned. And this is the longest that I have lived in one location in my adult life. And I am so grateful for the eight years I have lived in it.
Now the For Sale sign is going out in the yard. And I am having a really hard time letting it go. At the same time, I feel guilty about being so concerned with it. It is, after all, just stuff that will burn up some day. But this house is different. It is not like the other homes I enjoyed in Indonesia or the other spaces that were gifted to us over the years.
Perhaps it is because this wandering TCK, who never really knew where home was, could finally plant herself somewhere, could finally say, “This is my home”. This is the place my sons will most remember as home. This is the place I truly made my own, with sweat and cash. In this home, I did all the work – I removed wallpaper, scraped and sanded walls, repainted every surface, picked out furniture, sewed valences and pillows, polished floors, selected fixtures and poured love into every act of renovating and making it my own.
My head tells me that it’s just a pile of plaster, brick and wood (with a lot of beautiful glass thrown in), but my heart says that it’s my shelter, my creation. It’s symbolic of discovering who I am and what I like and growing and sacrificing. Sacrificing to buy it in the first place, sacrificing to make it my own, to fix it up. And now in obeying God, I must not sacrifice FOR it anymore, I must sacrifice IT.
Mary did it.
Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of perfume (Mark 12:3).
I wonder what that perfume meant to Mary? She was, after all, a woman. The men watching her saw a year’s wages in that jar, but I think Mary saw so much more. I bet she loved that perfume as I love my house. Sacrificing that perfume in such a final manner probably stood for so much more than the dollars spent to purchase it. Maybe it meant giving up dreams of marriage and children. Maybe the home she intended to purchase. Maybe all the visions for her future, the hours she spent fondling and smelling her perfume. When she poured it over Jesus’ feet, I think she wasn’t just sacrificing dollars, but she was giving her most valued possession, her most favorite thing and trusting that God would take care of her future.
King David did it too.
I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing (II Samuel 24:24).
When David was directed by the prophet to build an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah, he insisted on paying for it, rather than accepting a free gift. Offerings, by their very nature, should cost something.
And Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice. He left his home in heaven to offer his life for me.
He who did not spare his own son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things (Romans 8:32)? Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 5:2). The Son of Man has no where to lay his head (Matthew 8:20).
If Mary could give her most valued possession, if David could make a costly sacrifice, if Jesus could live homeless for a time, then I too can sacrifice my home to the one I love, in order to serve him in a new location. If Jesus could do it for me, then I can do it for him. He did it all for love for me. I can do it out of love for him.
So, getting down on my knees (as Mary would have), I offer my home to my Lord as my sacrifice. I weep as I release not only the physical structure, but also the roots, the memories, the attachments. And I realize that my small sacrifice has taught me to share a little more in the suffering of my Savior. And I pray with Ken Gire, author of Moments with the Savior,
Help me, O Light of the World, to see all my possessions illuminated by your presence. And to remember that their true worth is only in proportion to how they honor you. So teach me to value all you have entrusted to my care in the short life I have on this earth. Should I ever cling to any alabaster jar of my own, bring to my remembrance the precious jar you broke for me. And in the fragrance of that thought may I fall at your feet, as Mary did, lavishing upon you not only what I treasure most but also my tears.
What about you? What treasured possession is God asking you to offer to him? What will it cost you? How can you share in the suffering of your Savior?