When I flip through the pages of my favorite magazines my mind does a lot of things.
First my eyes soak in the beautiful photographs of perfectly styled homes. Next, I inspect the pictures to see what elements I have in my own home, or wish I did. Most of the time I simply resolve to the fact that my home will never look as magazine worthy as the spaces adorning the pages of the latest issue of Southern Living.
For starters I decide the rooms featured must all come from professionally designed homes or people in the business of fashion and décor. I also decide given the furniture and accessory selections they obviously have a bottomless pit of a budget.
Pretty quickly I decide that kind of home is out of my reach. It’s just not meant for me. I can’t afford it or put it all meticulously together even if I could. Our home is wonderful, but not magazine worthy.
The truth is homes in magazines aren’t always what they seem. The homes I am highlighting here today are all from non-professional people on tight budgets. They have used creative thrifting and time to curate gorgeous homes that blow my theory out of the water. You should visit them (just click each picture to head to their blog), you’ll see my friends are just ordinary people doing the best with what they’ve got. They could easily be you or me.
As for me God has taken our memory verse from April 2016 and used it to show me a place where preconceived decisions are not mine to make.
He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” Mark 16:15
When Jesus said this to his disciples it was a revolutionary statement. It brought us into direct relationship with God. We were to be a people included in God’s kingdom. Exclusivity was gone. That was and is a pretty big deal.
As modern day Christians we take this phrase a little for granted. It’s a huge commission to “preach the gospel”, but even crazier is to preach it “to all creation.”
While driving my kiddos to school we were discussing this verse. The morning drive is a good time of day for us to banter about our monthly memory verses. I was asking Sunday School questions like, “who is He?”, “who is them?” “what’s the gospel?”, then I asked my kids who do they think all creation means?
And that’s where God got ME.
Who do I think he means when he says all creation?
Quickly I go down a mental list of foreign countries, different races, different religions and socio-economic groups. Yep, got it. He means everyone and I sincerely believe that.
But really there is a whole group of people I leave out. The people who I decide won’t listen and wouldn’t want to hear what I have to say about Jesus. Those people I believe will never change. I make up my mind that they are who they are and that’s who they’ll be, so why bother. Do I believe the gospel is for them? Absolutely, but the problem is I’m going off my limited knowledge and assumptions. I’m also playing God. The end result: I don’t share the gospel with this segment of creation. The saddest part of this horrible confession is the group I decide for aren’t strangers. No! They are friends and family! They aren’t convicted felons, they are my people.
Do you do this? Am I alone in this confession?
Who am I to say who will have a heart for the Lord and who will not? This wretchedness is hard to admit, but it’s the truth and God called me out on it. He’s good like that. When we hold back on sharing the gospel through word or deed for a reason like this we are essentially saying it’s up to us to change people. It’s up to us to decide who will be saved and who won’t. It’s never up to us and that’s the most beautiful part. All we need to do is be a conduit for God’s love to flow from Heaven to Earth…to everyone. The pressure is off, it’s not our decision.
Preconceived notions are made to be broken. My house or yours could end up on the cover of Better Homes & Gardens. Just as easily that friend or family member I wrote off could have a heart change for Christ. I don’t have to look far to know 180° turns are real. Just a glance in the mirror will do. God is capable. I’m convicted, completely. I have to live out my side of the equation and let God work on his.
So how about we keep on decorating and let Cottage Style Magazine do their job and pick which house to feature, all the while sharing the gospel and letting God decide whose heart is going to soften when.
Whose on board? Can you think of someone you have cut out of “all creation” and start sharing the gospel with them?
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