Points to Ponder: The ruins can be homes again

Points to Ponder
The ruins can be homes again
by Pastor Dennis Whitmore

Growing up in the city provided an interesting and sometimes dangerous playground. We lived in a rowhouse in South Baltimore. Behind our house was an alley; and across the alley was several small rowhouses, which had been boarded up. They were "ruins," and provided an excellent scene for playing "war" (since these houses looked bombed out) or for "hide and seek" (since there were rooms and cubbyholes to hide in). We even pulled the plywood boards off the windows and bricks out of the walls to build ramps. Many a time I rode my Sears bike up the ramp, propelling my faithful steed and me into the air for several yards before coming down for a landing. Sometimes I was pretending to be on a horse; other times in a plane, depending on the height of the ramp and the speed of the bike.
To think that at one time these "ruins" were homes to families--a neighborhood that existed before my parents moved there! But the families who came along did more and more damage to these homes, and the slumlords did little to fix them, until finally they were unfit to live in. But at one time they were houses; and for some they were homes.
Interesting how human beings can build up and tear down. When you invest yourself in a structure (like a house), you can build it up. Some time ago, in South Baltimore, several city blocks worth of ruined, condemned houses was sold for $1 each. Today they are worth over $100,000. But the houses where I played were leveled into a parking lot. Both were "ruins." But what happened in each neighborhood was determined by a human decision to either invest or abandon. Not just money, but "sweat equity" (work).
Many times I go to the hospital or visit the home of a person whose spiritual life is a "ruins" of sorts. Either a church member, a pastor, a parent, or someone else did or said something. So the person boards up their spiritual house and abandons the neighborhood (the church). Their "house" because it no longer receives spiritual attention (worship, study, and prayer, gathering in community) becomes run down, leaving a playground for the spiritual influence of the world. Then, in the end, the owner either has to raze the house or invest in bringing it back up to a livable condition.
The church, like any neighborhood, has crime, annoying neighbors, dirt and structural problems. Sticking with the church when it disappoints (or even hurts) you, and hanging in there when life demands so much from you, is called obedience. That's why, I suppose, the Christian faith is called a walk and not a sit. Times will get tough and problems will always arise--just wait. The Body of Christ is full of imperfect people who sooner or later will mess up. And isn't it good to know that because Jesus loves us anyway, He chooses to invest in our broken hearts and lives? His will is to rebuild us into better and stronger dwelling places for His Spirit.
"If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make our home with him." (John 14: 23-24)

This column can be found on the web at: www.fumcl.org and is downloaded for your reading pleasure. Pastor Whitmore is not affiliated with Picket News, nor does he submit any material directly to our publication. We regularly reprint interesting articles found at his public domain Web site and encourage all readers to visit this site to enjoy similar material.