Home Sweet Home

     By the time you read this our 2017 VBS will be wrapped up and put to bed. I’m sure that it will have been a great week. I know that a tremendous amount of work was done to make it successful and a blessing to the children (and adults) that came. Our folks always do a great job!

     Our theme this year was a terrific one: “Love Brings You Home.” That theme inspired me to preach a lesson on the Christian home last Sunday that I called (with a notable lack of originality) “Home Sweet Home.” Here is a brief review with an additional thought or two:

     Most of us are blessed with sweet homes and we understand that God is the One who blesses our homes. It does us good, I think, to consider the elements that make our homes sweet.

     First on my list is love. We all know that the language of the New Testament has words for friendship love, family love and physical love. But the main and most significant word for love (agape) describes a love that always prefers the other over self. It is this love that brought Jesus here to suffer and die for us (John 3:16). It is also the love that is the subject of 1 Corinthians 13.

     Paul wrote that chapter to help the congregation at Corinth sort out some of their problems. They had elevated some of their miraculous spiritual gifts (given by the laying on of the apostles’ hands—Acts 8) over other more important spiritual things, faith, hope and love (1 Corinthians 13:13). The greatest of the things from God that abide is love.

     This love ought to rule our homes. I heard a sermon a long time ago in which the preacher asked the audience to substitute our name for love in verses 4-8. This device makes us ask ourselves if we are as patient, kind, humble, and faithful as we can be. When I put my name in place of love there I always find that I have plenty of room for improvement. Do the exercise and see how you come out.

     The second element on my list is the idea of mutual sacrifice. This grows out of Christian love. Home is made sweeter when the people living there actively look for ways to bless and benefit the lives of their mates, their children and their parents. The opposite of mutual sacrifice is the idea that “I have to have my way.” Life is much sweeter in all its aspects if we understand that we do not have to win in every situation. Think about Christ. He lost so we could win (1 Peter 1:18-19).

     A third element of a sweet home is an atmosphere of hope. We know that we have hope in Christ (1 Timothy 1:1). Hope is more than desire and expectation of Heaven. It is an attitude that contributes, along with faith and love, to a positive environment. We look forward to going home and being home when home is a positive pleasant place to be. Things do get tough from time to time and sometimes the bad days seem to outweigh the good. But our Lord, the good hope of the Bible keeps us looking around the corner through the clouds for the sun that is sure to shine.

     The last element on this list is compassion. God cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). We ought to care for each other, particularly at home. A terribly sad thing is to hear that someone who is known to be a kind caring person in the community is a harsh and hateful man at home. Most of us were blessed with parents who cared about us. That is a good thing because children learn compassion by seeing it in their parents.

This is not an exhaustive list. But we know that God’s Word will equip us to have a home sweet home. Think again of VBS and our children. The primary factor in determining the kind of home they will have is the kind of home they came from. So let our homes be sweet.