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Objections to Place – Part 2

so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored, says the Lord   Haggai 1:8

In the previous devotional we addressed objection #1: The timing is not right. Moving forward to today’s world, we have a second objection: “Place is not that important to God in these New Testament times. Brett, the temple was an Old Testament thing…now God lives in people, so why do you need a place for rēp?” (Or, ‘Why does this ministry need a building?’… whatever your situation may be.)

There is some truth to the shift in emphasis on place. Going back to the beginning, however, every square inch was God’s, and all of it was man’s responsibility to manage. Then Adam yielded that right to Satan. God elected to live mainly in one place, the temple. Later the second Adam, Jesus, redeemed everything through his sacrifice, reconciled the cosmos to himself, and restored our management responsibility back to us. Place became hugely important to God with a new urgency because he can now inhabit not only all people but all places. That is why today we teach business leaders that their factories, retail outlets, offices, and construction yards should reflect the order, beauty, and creativity of God. Place is there too, in part, to steward the presence of God, and to give him pleasure.

Look at your own life: 

  • Do you feel better in a beautiful, welcoming home or office, or in one that is unkempt and dirty?
  • Do you value place? Have you prayed to have your own house or apartment? Why?

If place is no longer important to God, why not sell your house or abandon your office? (‘Well, Brett, place is not important to me and God, but it is to my wife.’ I have news for you: it is important to your wife, and to your God.) We may not understand the importance of place, but Starbucks (and the local pub in England) does. They have tapped into the need for people to belong, and to have a place where that yearning can be expressed.  

This past month we have moved houses fairly often, looked for cafés that have wireless internet access, and shuttled back and forth to storage to find things. These are small inconveniences, really, and the home office team has managed really well. The greater reality is that our transitory time has highlighted the importance of gathering places for the people who are in our community. We regularly get calls or emails that ask, “Where are you? Can I come and see you? When are we meeting again?” Like children who feel more secure when they know their parents are in a set place, so our rēp community has cried out for the anchor that place lends to community. Place is an important anchor.  

Finally, there are plenty of functional reasons why place is crucial to God’s work. But you may want to consider that there are places all over the earth that he simply wants for himself.  

This is what the LORD Almighty says: "Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build the house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored," says the LORD.

Reflections 

  • Why do you have one standard for your house, and another for God’s? (I am not speaking of church buildings, but of any structure that is used for God’s purpose and exudes his presence.)

  • Is real estate your safety net? What does this say about how important place really is? Are you investing where God is investing?

 

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