DEDICATING OUR HOMES TO THE LORD
“The other day one of the members of our church asked if I would dedicate the new home into which she had recently moved. She wanted to invite guests and serve dinner and make an affair out of it. I told her the idea was new to me; I had dedicated many church houses, but this was my first invitation to dedicate a home.
So I asked her to let me see what the Bible had to say about it. I had not searched long until I came across Deuteronomy 20:5; “And the officers shall speak unto the people saying, what man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in battle, and another man dedicate it.” then agreed to go and dedicate that new home.
Some Thoughts That Arouse:
And in the meantime I did a lot of thinking about our homes, and here are some of the things that ran through my mind:
We read these days about the great shortage in houses. No town or city has houses to supply its increasing population. But that is nothing to compare with the shortage in homes, real homes.
We take our visitors for a drive and we say, “That is the home of Colonel so-and so.”
Is that so? No! If we spoke more truly we would say, ‘ That is his house.” He sleeps there (part of the time) and usually eats breakfast there. But he lives in his office, lunches up town, dines at the club and frolics at the theater. Yes, he has two or three houses, one for the winter and one for summer, but no “Home, Sweet Home.”
So it is with many of the places we pass, they are only houses, not homes.
A house is built of bricks and stones of sills and posts and piers, But a home is built of loving deeds that stand a thousand years. A house, though but a humble cot, within its walls may hold a home of priceless beauty, rich in love’s eternal gold.”
What has become of the motto; “God Bless Our Home”? That motto has been discarded because it “does not fit anymore. But to hang up one saying, “God Bless Our Flat,” or, “Our Apartment,” or, “Our Hotel,” or, Our Room,” or, “Our Tenement,” would not sound right.The center of our interests is being rapidly transferred from the home to outside institutions. Formerly, all the family cooking was done in the home— now one runs by the shops and out to the house where he stays, grasps a can opener and bread cutter and in three minutes the meal is on the table! (Much has changed since the early 1920s—should we add today’s fast food restaurants to this observation?)
The spinning wheel and loom have given way to the factory and sweat shop. The old time governess has surrendered to the public school, and alas! family worship and religious instruction around the home’s altar have been abandoned, and “hired” Sunday-school superintendents and teachers have assumed responsibility for our religious instruction. (Does your home have a special place designed for prayer, which is accessible to all your family members?—is an altar— part of that space?)
One of our foreign missionaries reports that in one village scores of heathen altars have tumbled down and the true God is now worshiped instead. I rejoiced when I read this statement, but wondered— what the report of a heathen in this country would be on the question of our family altars? Have they not been falling down fast and idols being set up in their stead?
We need to have dedications of the new homes being built, and some old homes may need rededication.
Since relating the above story to my people I have had several invitations to dedicate new homes. It is a wonderful privilege and pleasure, and I wonder if many a pastor’s heart would not glow afresh if the people who read this would set about dedicating their homes?
Why a Home Should Be Dedicated;
To dedicate means to set apart to specific purposes, so I will give some of the purposes to which one’s home should be dedicated.
1. To diligent religious instruction. Of course every normal home is supposed to have children. Not to have them was a reproach among God’s people, (Gen 15:2-3; 1 Sam. 1: 6-7). Children are given in answer to prayer, they are the gift of God (Ps.127:3).
Therefore it is written, “These words which I command thee this day, shall be in thy heart; and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children” (Deut. 6:7).
Children are the little rulers of the world, capable of infinite possibilities for either good or bad. And what they learn the first ten years will largely determine their character, career and destiny for time and eternity.
They should be taught to memorize Scripture from the time they can talk. They should be taught the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the necessity for regeneration, and the blessedness of being God’s child by faith in Jesus Christ. They should be taught honesty and sobriety, morality and Godliness, obedience and loyalty.
2. To the highest social and civic ideals. The first four of the ten commandments having been dealt with and the family’s attitude toward God settled, the remaining six commands should then be taken up.
The terrible tides of lawlessness now sweeping the earth are traceable directly to the breaking down of authority at its source, in the home. Children who are permitted to disrespect their parents and disregard parental authority will have little regard in after life for the rights of their fellows, and will consider themselves above the laws of both man and God.
3. To thoughtful religious conversation. “Thou shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house.”
I would dislike to describe the average family circle conversation. Hats and shoes, and dresses and automobiles, and the movies and on and on (ad nauseam) in a senseless chatter. What poverty of heart and brain is revealed in the ordinary conversation of the day!
And what is worse in some cases, even among some church families, the conversation turns to dissatisfaction with the church and preacher— and even to bitter criticisms.
I know a deacon in Kentucky who loved his church and was faithful to it, but who had a habit of falling out with his pastor about a year after getting a new one; and being influential in the church, he had a new one about every two or three years. When his sons were grown he bemoaned the fact that they had gone to the bad and would have nothing to do with the church. Of course they had—for about all they ever heard about preachers in their home was bitter criticism. And I have known at least one preacher’s family to go the same way because he carried back to his home every difference and difficulty he had with any of his members.
Not an ugly word should ever be spoken about any living person in the presence of children. What a different world we would have— if every home conversation was about health and happiness, joy and beauty, poetry, music, art, flowers, love, God, Jesus—heaven!
“What did you think of the pastor’s sermon this morning?” was asked of one member by another. “It was a splendid sermon, but it won’t do half the good it ought to,” was the doleful reply, “because, the people will be chattering about something else as soon as they leave the church and forget the good words, and throw away the good impressions.”
It is wonderful that preaching gets as far as it does!
4. To religious hospitality. Oh, what a haven of rest was the home of the Shunammite to the prophet, and that of the Bethany sisters to Jesus, and that of Lydia to Paul!
Many a mother prays for her son to be a preacher, and a good way to get her prayer answered would be to have the pastor in her home often. Many a missionary and preacher can trace his impression to yield his life to the service of the Master, to the visit of some man to his childhood’s home.
5. To devout religious worship. The home without its family altar is denying itself life’s greatest treasure.
At the breakfast table is, for many, the best hour of the day for family worship. A few verses should be read, then each member of the family should quote a verse from memory, and then some one should lead in prayer. D. L. Moody said “that for family worship, to read the Bible is good, to read and pray is better, to read, pray and sing is best.”
If every home would become a church, every church would soon become a home. Jeremiah (10:25) pronounces a severe curse upon the prayerless home.
- The world is dependent upon America,
- America is dependent upon the church,
- And the church is dependent upon the home. If the home leaves out God and remains undedicated to high and holy purposes, the church and the nation, and the world will collapse.”