This post will at first seem completely disconnected from food issues, but as always I will have the Jerry Springer moment at the end where I wrap it all up in a neat bow and connect all the dots.
We have been in the process of getting our house ready to put on the market. You may remember we are moving to the World Hunger Farm in May. After that? Who knows? But there is a possibility that we could be overseas with a missions agency for a few years. That’s the context.
My thinking about what to do with our house has been pretty binary: sell or rent. Those are the two options that most readily present themselves and fit with the prevailing way that society functions concerning houses and property and such. Selling seemed like giving up a huge asset that anchored us in a community and had some stability. Renting on the other hand seemed impossible financially and also logistically since we would likely be out of the country.
We have been working tirelessly and lots of projects to add value and make our house attractive to buyers. For weeks now I have watched our two kids all day and then worked for several hours late into the evening painting, grouting or some such tiresome work. Not too long ago I tweeted about how worn out I was saying something like, “I’m ready to be done with all this work and get busy doing some kingdom work.”
That was how I thought… until last week. A couple friends of mine set in motion a conversation and phone calls that now have my gears turning. First a friend of mine responded to my tweet with “Isn’t it all kingdom work?” I quickly brushed aside her gentle jab as good natured ribbing and nothing I should take too seriously. But a seed was planted.
Then maybe a week later another friend told me to call her dad about buying our house. I have met him maybe once. Knowing that I was a good friend of his daughter’s he gave me straightforward advice about our house. Whether or not his advice was right it was honest and it changed the way I was thinking.
I’m actually somewhat embarrassed that I hadn’t thought this way about this decision before. Rather than asking “What should we do with our house?”, perhaps we should ask instead “How can this be used for the kingdom of God?”
Several possibilities emerged, but I know that this is only the tip of the iceberg.
I have long held the belief that being a follower of Jesus meant allowing the kingdom mentality to permeate your entire life. Being “missional” means that the mission of God in the world informs and infuses every aspect of who you are and what you do. It is so easy to miss this and only think about everyday aspects of life in terms that the world sets for us, profit, security, etc. When we allow the gospel and our faith to speak into our everyday lives and decisions it shakes up our world.
Too often I think in terms of getting from point A to point B. Once we sell our house and move to the farm, THEN we will be doing kingdom work. In the meantime the means of getting there don’t always line up with the stated goal. If we are open and imaginative, I believe that the means of getting from one place to another can be infused with that kingdom we are seeking. The means will be consistent with the end. That requires a lot of effort to allow that telos to infiltrate our everyday lives.
And here’s the Jerry Springer moment… This applies to any and all of our problems. We must insist that the vision of a just and sustainable food system inform how we move from our current place ever closer to that vision.