Sunday, July 18, 2010

Curb Appeal

Curb appeal.  It seems like a good thing, but do we put to much emphasis on our curb appeal? 

I was thinking the other day about our obsession with our appearance.  It is pervasive in American society.  On the outside, it seems harmless.  Who doesn't want to look their best?  But, in reality, we have become unbalanced - out of whack. 

We all live in "rental" houses.  Every house is a rental and every rental is destined for the wrecking ball.  Yet, we are all looking to improve our rental.  It is obvious to the casual observer who has put all of their security in their rental.  You can drive down the street and search out rentals with real curb appeal.  We have all seen them.  They are beautiful to look upon.  They have manicured lawns, finely planted gardens, and lawn furniture.  They often sport a new paint job or new roof.  Sometimes, they go to vinyl, because vinyl's final.  Every dollar spent by the owners of these rentals are spent on improvements.  New flat screens TV's, designer couches and updated flooring. But something is missing.  There is no thought to hospitality, only "entertaining".  People don't feel welcomed in these homes, just awed by them.  And, perhaps most regrettably, no thought is given to permanent housing.  The unimproved lot behind the rental (the one secured for their "forever house") remains empty, unimproved.  No foundation is being built, no lumber package is brought in.  The renters are too consumed with improving their rental and keeping up with the "Jones'".  The lease is almost up - the wrecking ball is rumbling down the street, but the renters are still pouring their every resource into their ill-fated rental.

Next to the house with great "curb appeal" we see a homely little cottage.  This cottage is tidy, inviting and humble.  It's paint is pealing, it's porch sags a bit, but their is something oddly alluring about this little cottage.  The cottage door is always open.  There is a pleasant aroma wafting through air beckoning passerby's to come sit awhile.  Inside, the house is dated.  Old rag rugs are scattered here and there. The floors are scuffed with age and use.  The Formica counter tops defy description (I'm sure they're from the 50's).  But there is an unmistakable air of hospitality that ministers to all that enter.  But, even more intriguing than the cottage, is the lot behind it.  Thinly veiled behind low lying clouds is a stunning mansion.  You can't quite see it, but the outline peeks out from behind the cloudy cover.  From time to time, you see a sparkly radiance emanating from the jewel encrusted roof-line.  At first, you wonder who could be the owner/builder of this magnificent abode, but soon you see the owners fingerprints.  Humility, hospitality, graciousness and mercy are the pillars of this mansion.  These are the hallmarks of the cottage - the rental.  As soon as the owners of the lowly cottage realized their time was short, rather than remodelling and investing in their rental, they began building a mansion.  They used all of their energy and resources to build their eternal masterpiece.  Of course, they used their rental to minister to all the other renters.  They kept their rental tidy and inviting, but they made their investments in their mansion.

The wrecking ball comes to us all.  None are exempt.  Are you too busy remodelling and dolling up your rental to invest in your mansion?  Are you using your rental to minister to the children of men or are you too busy fixing and fussing with your rental so you can impress the children of men?

God gave each one of us a rental along with a lot to build our "permanent home" upon.  Which will you choose to invest time, money and the gifts of God improving?


  1. The parable of the rental, I like it.

    NoCal Gal

  2. Thought provoking.

    As a carpenter taught by my grandfathers, the use and construction of my "rental" is a reflection of God given abilities, to squander them is blasphemy. "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing well" and "God can see it" are mantras that play over and over in my mind as my efforts create the structure.

    The first blessing is the idea/dream. The ability to imagine, visualize and design the project.

    The next is the materials themselves. A lumber pile is testimate to God's amazing creation. Each ring a measure of a year, the season, the region. The sawyer's skill reveals them. The carpenter fashions them and connects them in a way that reflects the blessing and rejoices. Its durability, reliability, beauty and function celebrate God's creation and the blessing he bestowed upon the carpenter, the trade of his son.

    My upbringing, my faith and my gratitude are reflected in my efforts. To highlight the beauty in God's creations, to use the abilities I was blessed with, to do the things that God may only see are my way of praising and thanking the Lord, whether that be for a rich man wanting to show his wealth or a more humble "renter," I want to do my very best with whatever is provided for the project.

    "Never hide behind paint or putty. Strive for perfection. Let God shine through your work."

    The initial thoughts of a humble carpenter, Mo

  3. Awesome post. Many thanks - Jennifer