When my house was built in 1955, it was in the country. It was built by a guy named Joe Craig on some land was part of the Craig family farm. The elder Craig (I do not know his name) gave each of his sons and daughters parcels of the farm on which to build a home, and our house was the first built. It was 100 feet off a dirt farm-to-market road the Craigs used to take produce and livestock to market for sale.
Today, the farm-to-market road is known as Sharon-Amity Rd., and what was the Craig farm is Sherwood Forest. We are hardly in the country. When we bought the house in 1995, we were considered “inner suburbs.” Today, we are classified as an “urban community.” We are in the city.
We love this house. There’s nothing particularly special about it except that it’s our home. It’s a brick ranch, similar in look to the house I grew up in (and its contemporary). We have nicknames for it: ramshackle shack and Little Southfork (for any “Dallas” fans) being the two we use the most.
As much as we love it, on occasion, our eye wanders. We see another house in the neighborhood that we have admired go on the market and we think, “that would be a nice place to live.” Sometimes, we even go and look at other houses. The kitchen will be nicer, but the master bedroom will be smaller. The yard will be well-manicured, but no fence. The bathroom will need renovating, but there’s a two-car garage.
We never seem to get further than one walk-through at an open house before we’re once again happy with Little Southfork and, in fact, cannot wait to get back there and soak in its esoteric charm.
In a word, we are content.
The house backs up to the wooded back lot of a neighbor and, just beyond those woods is a church. The church has been for sale for more than a year. 5.9 acres of prime, “urban” property waiting for another church or maybe a developer to snatch it up. We look at the for sale sign with some degree of dread each time we pass by because it represents an unknown to us. What ifs that run through one’s mind are more likely to be negative than positive. It’s more likely someone would want to build apartments than Charlotte’s version of the Biltmore Estate on the property, and we don’t know how we feel about that.
A few weeks back, Henry and I chose a morning walk route that took us in front of the church. It’s a church that has a changeable sign in the front. Sometimes, it has one of those sayings that started on a church sign somewhere, has spread to church signs everywhere and will almost never be seen anywhere else. (My favorite of these is “Know Christ, know peace. No Christ, no peace.”) Other times, it’s scripture.
On this day, the sign had changed, and I stopped to read it. It was scripture, and as I read it, my eye caught the background and noticed the sign behind it. I stood kinda shocked.
It made me stop a minute and think about my life. (I suppose it’s what a church wants when it has a changeable sign with pithy slogans and words of scripture…even though I’m not sure this one realized its complete message.)
Quoting scripture and living by it are two completely different things. The Bible clearly instructs me to “be content with what (I) have.” And I am…I think. I love Little Southfork, but I still look at other houses. I love the work I do, but I still think about what others do and wonder if that wouldn’t be fun. I love my car, but Mazda RX-8s still turn my head.
I want true contentedness. I want a contentedness that allows me to sit back and appreciate what God has done for me – as Psalm 16:6 says, to realize that “the boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places.” That’s my goal today.