I suppose everybody has a favorite house. My childhood memories still gather in the spacious, rambling rooms of my aunt’s home. My eye roams from the vastness of the wraparound porch, to the living room’s high ceiling with its wooden beams, up a stately staircase to the chain of bedrooms linked around a huge central bath, to the mysterious stairs leading to a toy-filled attic, back down the stairs to the sunlit kitchen.
It is not only the spaces, of course. It is that I have always felt at home in this house, where there is always room for me. Jesus is the cornerstone, he tells his listeners, upon which a great house will be built. According to Peter, as we are filled with gifts and graces by the Spirit, we become living stones. Aligned with the cornerstone, Christ, we are built up into a spiritual house where God lives. (See 1 Peter 2:4-5.) We receive our calling to be stewards of the household.
Stewardship is not ownership; rather, it is finding the particular grace or gift God has given me and using it for the good of the household. (See 1 Peter 4:10.) When I discover how my gift fits in, I am truly at home in the house. (See Ephesians 4:11-16.)
At table with his disciples for a last supper, Jesus washed their feet, blessed and broke bread, and served them a cup of wine. Then he spoke to them of God’s house and its many rooms. You will have a place there, he says. (See John 14:2.)
As I grow in Christian discipleship, I am gradually finding my place in the household. I am learning how God wants me to use my gift. But the best part is that there is room for me here because Jesus is the host.
“How lovely is your dwelling place, O God.” Amen.
The Decalogue in Exodus 20 need not be considered a litmus test of righteousness or religious purity but rather a declaration that lies near the heart of the covenant relationship between Yahweh and Israel. The Torah is the way the people say yes to God’s saving initiatives. Psalm 19:1-6 links the gift of the Torah to other acts of divine creation. The balance of the psalm celebrates the strength and beauty of the Torah and moves the reader behind the Torah to its Giver, thereby proclaiming the gospel of the well-ordered life. In Philippians 3 Paul speaks of himself as leaning into the future in response to the manner in which Jesus Christ has invaded his own life. The parable in Matthew 21 presents a direct and bold affinity for living in accordance with the gospel, producing “fruits of the kingdom.”
• Read Exodus 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20. If you are unable to live out the Commandments, which ones would you remove from the list?
• Read Psalm 19. If you monitored your speech for a day, how would you describe the tone and content? What one gift would you petition God for?
• Read Philippians 3:4b-14. How is your church and its people a sign for those who need hope and new life?
• Read Matthew 21:33-46. Where in your church, among the members and in the various meetings and activities, have you seen evidence that folks “have forgotten who owns the vineyard”?
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