Buying a house

We’ve done it! We’ve had an offer accepted on a house!

Actually, it happened a lot more quickly than I thought it would. So quickly that I didn’t get to write anything about the house-hunting process.

You build it up in your head as being this huge thing that’s really hard and takes ages to do but no…despite the differences that Sally and I had about what we wanted from a house and a neighbourhood, the fourth place that we looked out got us both very excited. We put an offer in
on Saturday and it was duly accepted.

I had some hesitations. Does God want us to buy a house? How do the notions of borrowing and spending that much money fit in with my faith? Am I just following the crowd and the culture? Is this really something that we should be doing, or should we be stepping out in a different,
more counter-cultural direction?

I never asked those questions about renting. Perhaps I should have?

I did spend some time praying about the decision. I thought hard about a little story in the bible where a man goes to Jesus and, excitedly, says “I will follow you wherever you go”. Brilliant, we might think. How good, we might think, to see someone making such a passionate statement of commitment to following Jesus’ teaching!

But Jesus knows the man’s true motives and replies by saying that “foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head”.

What does this mean? Does it mean that if we want to follow Jesus we should never settle anywhere? How does that fit the theme of community that runs through the bible, of living, sharing, and serving God together? Is buying a house too much of a commitment to stay in one
place? Or should I be settling into a community and trying to make a difference there by sticking it out, making friends and serving others?

This story is followed by another about a man who wants to follow Jesus but has a few things he wants to do first. It’s a story about priorities. We should be following Jesus first, whatever that may mean for us, and doing the other things alongside that.

As I prayed and asked God about the passage and about our move I felt God saying that the most important thing was to follow Jesus. Buying a house is fine, as long as it doesn’t make you lose sight of what’s really important. If the house, job, money, friends, car, holiday, wide-screen TV, or any worldly thing starts to get in the way of loving God and loving our neighbours, then we need to re-prioritise.

It’s early days yet and there’s plenty that can go wrong, but we hope that one day soon we will own our house. But doing so MUST be an activity that enables us to love and serve and follow our God, not one that distracts us from it.