Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Marie's house. Some thoughts on living a meaningful life.

Marie's house in Switzerland is almost 500 years old. It is older than America. It is big and beautiful and built right next to the church that her Dad pastors. Actually it is on the same property. Outwardly it is a work of art, historical and ready to be photographed. Inside it hosts a wildly passionate family of at least 5, and usually 10, on any given day. Marie's family is extravagantly hospitable, making you feel at home the moment you walk in their perfect old door, so naturally they almost always have guests.

One day last week we were all in her backyard having lunch together and we talked about the builders of that house. They must have been incredible. Think of how hard they must have worked to build with such excellence so that we could still enjoy it today. Its extra hard for me to fathom as an American, visiting from the land of microwaves, iPhones and instant... everything. But it's obvious that nothing about this home's contstruction was instant. Its sturdy and secure. It stands strong in the hot summer sun, and the Swiss winter snow, and everything in between. The families who have lived life within its walls have continued to update its appearance. It is neither drab nor outdated. There's a nice kitchen with all of the current amenities, a big upstairs bathroom, and everything inside is adorned with simple and stylish decor- which I'm confident can be attributed to the very fashionable Bader/Kim women.  ((Oh, Ps. I've deemed the Bader girls "wonder-women" when it comes to being everything I want to be when I grow up. They are ultra-loving, magazine-worthy cool, and faithful beyond words. I hope one day to have daughters that turn out like Marie & her sisters. Just so you know.))

Spending time in Marie's house reminded me of something Jesus said.

"Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse because it is built on a solid bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and does not obey it is foolish like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash." (Matthew 7:24-27)

Marie's house was built on a solid foundation. It has sustained generation after generation because of the quality that went into it from the very beginning of its contruction. After spending a few nights in this glorious place I realized that my life, our lives, are not meant to be so different from Marie's house. We have an opportunity everyday to build something that will bless future generations. Often we are short sighted in the way we make decisions though and so we miss the potential to leave a legacy beyond our years here on this earth. We prioritize temporary things like personal feelings of happiness and comfort, at the cost of building a meaningful life through uncomfortable things like hard work, discipline and sacrifice.

We forget that our decisions have consequences or like the Bible says, that "we reap what we sow". So we have become a generation that wastes our days twerking and drinking and flirting and taking selfies and making shallow goals like "I just want to be happy, or I just want to make more money, or I just want to travel"...  as if emptiness is something that goes away when we relocate or get a bigger salary. Sorry homie. You are still you and your garbage goes where you go. Even if you dress your empty self in a punjabi and drink your weight in Indian Chai tea somewhere in the glorious Himalayas, you'll still be empty... your stomach might be full (or sick) but your heart will still be empty.

Living for yourself promises emptiness.

But Marie's house reminded me how awesome it is to the lives of meaning, and vibrance and color that we were born for. By choosing daily to do things like trust God and honor each other and live with integrity, we are building something. In staying faithful to our spouses, or walking in purity until we are married, or being honest in how we speak and how we deal with our money, we are constructing a foundation that will serve those around us. Whether it is our own children who benefit from the God-fearing choices we make, or our friends and coworkers, or it could be simply strangers who stumble upon our life-giving posts on Facebook, when we look outside of ourselves and prioritize the God story, over the "ME story", something beautiful is being built.

Like with Marie's house, those strong men who built it almost 500 years ago were excellent and faithful, and because of those qualities we are able to enjoy the fruit of their labor today. I hope that years after I'm gone other people will enjoy the fruit of my life too. I probably won't leave behind a house I built... because i'm not so handy... but I pray that I leave behind a foundation of faith, that other people can look to and build upon.

I hope my life, my love, my faith, and my courage will inspire greater life and love and faith and courage in others.

True happiness is found in trusting Jesus and loving others.
It's available to all of us, no exception.

"...the joy of the Lord is your strength." Neh. 8:10

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