Read Isaiah 5: 1-30
Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land. The Lord Almighty has declared in my hearing: “Surely the great houses will become desolate, the fine mansions left without occupants.
– Isaiah 5: 8-9
The New England Conference has a covenant with churches in Nicaragua. A few years back I traveled to Nicaragua to learn about the covenant, to see the ministries that NEUMC are involved in, to meet some of the people, to see the land, and learn about Nicaragua’s culture. It was a wonderful experience. The following June, some members involved in the Nicaragua covenant came to the United States to attend our Annual Conference. Some stayed with our Bridgewater community and I played host to them. With so many options to see in Massachusetts, it was difficult to decide where to take them. I chose Plymouth, MA.
We saw the famous Plymouth Rock and I shared our country’s history. We went into a museum which included a horse drawn wagon which was used to carry caskets from the home to the cemetery. They said they didn’t understand why it was in the museum and explained that is what they still use. We strolled along to the beautiful water front, were entertained by a costume-period statue who moved as you donated money, and came upon a small gift shop nestled inside a replica of an early pilgrim house. I explained about the house to which they replied, “That looks exactly like many of the houses we live in.”
On route, we stopped at a little town farmer’s market, where they bought a beautiful picture of harvesting cranberries by the wet technique. The vibrant red berries were surrounded by riveting fall foliage at its peak. My visitors asked if we would stop at a development of some newly constructed residential homes so they could take pictures of these homes to show back in Nicaragua.
As I read Isaiah earlier this week, I remembered my time with my Nicaragua friends. The passage in Isaiah is full of warnings about building such vast empires unto ourselves and forgetting about God. It is contrary to what God desires for the world and God’s people. Many of the folks that have purchased these large homes that my friends wanted to take pictures of are now finding them too big to heat and to maintain. Look at many of the Newport mansions or European castles which now are museums. Yet, we continue to do the same thing over and over.
Last month, I saw a television show about “Tiny Homes.” While I am not sure I am ready to go to the extreme of living in such a tiny space (100-400 sq. ft.), I think there is a happy medium. In Nicaragua, many of those tiny homes had no foundation; when the rainwaters came, they ran right through the middle of the houses.
Are you grateful for what you have? Do you desire more and more space and items or are you able to be satisfied with the blessings you have received? Are you grateful for the sight of vibrant cranberries and fall foliage? Are you aware that you have windows to shut to keep the rain out when many in the world have it run through their living rooms? We become so accustomed to what we live in and around, often we become oblivious to our surroundings or begin to think we are entitled. Is your heart grateful and content with all you have? What is Isaiah’s warning to you?
In Christ’s Love and Light,