Ed, my old neighbour in Saskatchewan, knows I waste too much time browsing the listings of houses for sale. Most sensible people are only interested in homes for sale if they are in the market to buy one. Whether it is a lonely shack by a railroad track, or a stately old house now forgotten, I can see potential where no one else can. Ed has always said it is good I have no money to invest, because if I did I would be a junk dealer of houses. He is sure seeing potential in a home for sale is 90 per cent imagination and 10 per cent common sense.
Many of us are glad to have any place to call home. Most of us also have a home that reflects what we can afford rather than what might be the house of our imaginations. Who wants an elegant mansion on a private estate or a historic castle? Some long for a fishing cabin on a favourite lake or a beach house in Hawaii. Style, size and location are all part of house dreams. Some feel home needs to be near family, and some make sure it is far away from relatives. Ed says he is unimpressed by houses, but he has talked about both his and Ruby’s first house and his grandparent’s clapboard house on the farm as places he will never forget.
Living in downtown Chilliwack, a city of nearly 100,000 people, it has taken time to get used to seeing people who have no home to call their own. Some do not want a home, which for me, who enjoys the comforts of our home, is hard to understand. Some have fled homes of abuse or neglect for the streets. Some live in addiction to drugs, finding their home and security in drug highs. They remind me that maybe I am too comfortable with bed and bath, fridge and stove and so many good things that I am blind to those with way less. Perhaps my comfortableness is not God-pleasing. Does what we have harden our hearts in pride to God, and others, as if all that matters is what we have at home?
What did it mean when Jesus said, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head?” These words help us to remember the lifestyle Jesus led with his disciples. Jesus and his disciples were functionally homeless, travelling about from place to place. They were blessed when they were welcomed to food and shelter by someone. Jesus warned a person who wanted to follow him as his disciple to consider what it would be like to travel around homeless with him. Jesus wanted the man who thought about following him, to count the cost — was he ready to be homeless, sleep on the ground at times and have no regular meals, few personal possessions or privacy?
Jesus would eventually travel to his cross, grave and resurrection from the dead that everyone would take stock of God’s love toward sinners. With faith in Jesus, our grave can lead to heaven, a perfect, eternal home prepared for us by Jesus, himself.