LIFE MATTERS

Memories of home

By Gerry Lewis | Published Wednesday, March 28, 2018

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It’s funny how they’re triggered. Sights, sounds and smells often bring to mind powerful memories of people, events and home.

As I look back on 40 years of ministry, I’m amazed I can remember certain church members’ phone numbers, their favorite songs or favorite Bible verses.

I read a verse this morning that brought back one of those memories.

“I would rather be a gatekeeper in the house of my God than live the good life in the homes of the wicked.” (Psalm 84:10, New Living Translation)

Reading that verse reminded me of my mentor and father in ministry, Roland Earl. He died in January 1991. On April 1 of that year, I succeeded him as pastor of Eagle Mountain Baptist Church. Between the two of us, we pastored that church for 48 years (31 for him, 17 for me).

Psalm 84:10 was his favorite verse. I have a vivid memory of standing and reading it next to his gravesite as family and friends said, “see you later.”

Roland epitomized the words “pastor” and “servant.”

Reflecting on that verse this morning, I had some new ponderings. (You’re not surprised, are you?)

A gatekeeper is a servant. He has no place of his own. He “keeps the gate” without entering into a place of belonging and residing.

The translation Roland used said, “I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” (New International Version)

“Living the good life in the homes of the wicked” is a good description of what the ancients would have understood about “dwelling in the tents of the wicked.”

Dwelling in tents means to enter and have a place of residence.

The Psalmist is really not extolling the virtues of servanthood as much as he is emphasizing the choice of identification.

If I had to choose between doorkeeper and dweller, I would prefer identification with God, rather than with the wicked.

But here’s where the New Testament helps us gain a deeper understanding: Thanks be to God, I have a dwelling place – a place of belonging – through my alignment with God by faith through Jesus.

Indeed, I not only have a dwelling place with God, I am (according to 1 Corinthians) a dwelling place for God.

The truth is that I have been invited in and given a home by God and any service I offer Him is offered out of love as one who is overwhelmed by the joy of having been adopted as His son.

I don’t serve so that He will be pleased with me and invite me in. I serve to bring Him pleasure because I know I am loved, I belong, and my life matters to Him.

What will motivate you to serve God today? Are you serving with all your might, trying to please Him and gain an invitation? Or do you understand that your life matters and the invitation has already been extended?

What will trigger your “memory” about “home” with God?

Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association in Decatur.

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