May my faith be made stronger in my morning time with you Father, Son, and Spirit.
“Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Mathew 19:24
Monday night we went prayer walking in a neighborhood in Huntsville. It is not the “nicest” neighborhood. It has its share of crime. A block over the neighborhood gets worse. Both neighborhoods are lower income. What I have found is that prayer walking is much easier, more fruit is produced and stories of life and connections are made in the lower income neighborhoods than in higher income neighborhoods. Why, because lower income neighborhoods have a “front stoop mentality,” higher income neighborhoods have a “back deck mentality.”
Lower income neighborhoods need their neighbors, form bonds with them and rely on a community to help them get by. Moms, especially single mom need other moms to watch kids while they work because they can’t afford day care. Dads need other dads to look after each others houses while they work and also to help them find work. Families need other families to be there for each other when they are sick, or in need. Even houses in these neighborhoods that don’t have front porches or stoops, they bring chairs out in the front yard and sit and talk. They live in and like community.
There comes a certain income level that an individual or family reaches they trade in their front stoops for fenced in back decks. People reach a financial level that they no longer need their neighbors to get by. Moms can afford expensive daycare for their children, and other moms expect them and judge them by what daycare their children attend. Dads can afford to put fences up, security systems, and electronic garage door openers so they can drive through their neighborhood on the way home from work with rolled up car windows, hit the garage door opener, pull in garage, push button again and step out of car inside closed garage without stepping a foot in their neighborhood. Families peer at other families through the blinds on their windows. And the goal is a home in the suburbs of neighborhood that gives them private space from those around them. Where they can guard their stuff, hide and protect their material goods and emotional baggage from those around them.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus stood up to those around Him,
“And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” (Matthew 5:2-7)
So does Jesus’ words sound like He is describing “front stoop” or “back deck” people as those who will inherit and enter into the kingdom of God? When you meet Jesus, which do you feel you will have a better time justify building and spending your time on, a front stoop or a back deck?
Jesus also said, “In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?" (John 14:2) There are different ways of interpreting this verse that I will not get into now, but two things I am pretty sure of; First, none of those rooms will have a back deck. Second, the Father’s house has an amazing front stoop on it. And Jesus is going to be sitting on it talking with his neighbors, probably sipping wine from Canna and laughing when I come through heavens gates. And He is going to get up, give me an embrace, hand me a glass of wine, and say "Well done good and faithful servant!" (Matthew 25:21). And we are going to sit on that stoop and catch up with each other and laugh. Many will be surprised to find heaven is more like a front stoop in “the hood” than the back decks of "the hills.”
My family, I pray today you create an amazing and welcoming front stoop on the house that Jesus in His Spirit currently resides, you heart. May your life be an inviting stoop that all who sit with you will “comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ.” (Ephesians 3:17) In Jesus’ name! Please pray the same for me. God bless you my friends!
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