DayBreaks for 9/26/17: Living Within a Yard of Hell
From the DayBreaks archive, 9/2007:
I feel that I’ve been very fortunate in my life in many, many ways. One of them is that I’ve lived in quite a few different places. I was born in Iowa and raised as a farm boy for about the first 9 years, then moved to Florida, then southern California, then northern California. After graduating from high school, I went back to Florida for college, then back to California, then to North Carolina, then back to northern California. We lived in several cities in northern California before moving to Maine in 2003, and now we find ourselves back in northern California once again…but in a different place.
I have enjoyed living in all those places – different scenery, different customs, different accents, different weather, different friends and I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed living in every place I have ever lived. I believe that of all the places we’ve lived, that Maine takes the cake for beauty – but other places have better weather. For example, I’ve never slipped on the ice in the shopping center in Cloverdale, CA, which is more than I can say for living in Maine! The leaves in Maine are like nowhere else on earth when they turn color, but Cloverdale is ringed with vineyards that turn colors, too, after the grapes are harvested.
If you could live anywhere that you wanted to live, where would it be? I found an interesting quote that I’d like to share with you. It’s from C. T. Studd, and here’s what they had to say: “Some wish to live within the sound of a church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of Hell.”
Wow. That draws me up short and really makes me think about how selfish I can be (and am!) It also forces me to take stock of what matters the most to me. Sure, who wouldn’t love to live close to the church and be constantly surrounded by other believers who are committed to loving one another and loving God? But, such a scenario can have its drawbacks: it’s possible to love each other and God so much, but not love the world of unbelievers around us and therefore not make an effort to reach them because of their differences from us.
What really makes me ashamed is to ask the question: “Where would Jesus have lived?” Think about it. If ever anyone was living in the sound of church bells (or choirs), Jesus had that luxury in heaven for all eternity. He could have just stayed sitting on the throne of heaven and reveling in the music and praises of the angels. But, instead, he chose to live within a yard of Hell by coming here and living with us.
Does this mean that you have to feel guilty and move to a slum or inner city or jungle in order to fulfill your Christianity? No, not at all. Hopefully, you are where you are because God has called you to that place. Besides, everywhere in this world is within a yard of Hell – just look around and you’ll see people queuing up to pass through its gates. And, we may be the last chance any of them get at hearing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
PRAYER: Lord, we thank you for where you have placed us. Help us to never grow complacent or become too introverted as your family, the church, that we forget the mission we are called to! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2017 by Galen C. Dalrymple.