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Family Decides How to Handle Promised New House

Imagine a family of four living in a modest home. It's a good home, and it meets their needs, but it's also far from perfect. The pipes are aging. The floors are scratched up. The walls have marks on them. The kitchen is dated. One day "Papa" or grandpa visits and tells them, "I am saving money to do a major renovation of your house. In 10 years I'll redo everything for you—new floors, appliances, wiring, roof, siding, and landscaping. Everything will be redone."

That night they celebrated and talked about their dream house. But after their beloved Papa left, they faced a dilemma: How do they live until the new house is ready? With some sarcasm, the oldest son says, "Who cares how we live? It's all going to get redone, so I say we trash this place and live it up." The daughter says, "We can just live here, but let's spend all of our time and energy dreaming about the house to come." The father says, "Well, I'm not fixing anything else in this house. If it breaks, it will stay broken. I'm not patching holes, I'm not sanding floors, and I'm not fixing doors. As long as the roof does not collapse, I am not touching it."

The family's mom listened quietly before saying, "Here's the thing: It will be wonderful to get a brand new home, but now, even before it comes, we have to live in this home like we are going to live in the brand new one. If we trash this house, we will just learn how to trash houses. We should dream and plan for the new house, but if we only think about the new home, we will miss the goodness that is still here. And if we never fix anything, we'll need to live with more things broken than are necessary. Seeing broken things will only bring sadness." She concluded, "So from now on you need to imagine like we are living in the new house now and live in this house just like we will in our new one."

Possible Preaching Angles: The preacher who shared this illustration followed it up with this quote from N.T. Wright: "What counts is formation, in the present time, of a character that properly anticipates the promised future state … to share in the new world, the new creation that has already begun with Christ."

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