Sweeping God’s Porch

Fondation Claude Monet - photo by Veronica Reverse (unsplash.com) Fondation Claude Monet, France – photo by Veronica Reverse (unsplash.com).  Note: This is not what our house currently looks like — I need a tad more time.

16 years ago, my family and I moved from L.A. to Cincinnati, Ohio. From living in a snug little SoCal condo to a rambling leave-it-to-beaver suburban home, one we could never have afforded in California. But a big house and big yard = big responsibility. At first, I liked mowing “my lawn,” but pretty soon the novelty wore off. Likewise, having a big basement was nifty (room for a workshop, ping pong table, gym equipment). But not when it flooded. Repeatedly.

Add in my passion for my work (writing, filmmaking, storytelling), and our home soon began to feel like an interruption, a chore. One I barely had time for.

But then something clicked: I realized this was my home, and how blessed I was (basement flooding and every species of weed known to humankind notwithstanding) to have it! For the first time, I began to think not just of upkeep, but of beautification—landscaping, painting, a new cupola for the garage roof. In short, I began to thank God for what he’d given us by taking pleasure and pride in caring for our home.

“Then the LORD God took the humans and placed them in the Garden of Eden to cultivate and care for it. And whatever they called each living creature, that was its name.” And behold, I did name our wild bunnies “Flopsy, Mopsy, and Beakerhead” (don’t ask), and our squirrels…forget it, too many.

And it was good.

I knew about stewardship, that the earth belongs to God, and that we, like Adam and Eve, are merely its privileged administrators. I liked the concept, philosophically, but it always seemed a bit of an abstraction.

Until last Saturday.

We’d heard a heavy rain was coming. And that meant reinforcing the castle moat, i.e. the strategic ramp of dirt and powdered concrete I keep banked against the house walls so the rain will run away from our basement rather than into it. But then, as I was finishing up, raking my dirt all-pretty-like and sweeping off my front porch, it struck me:

This is stewardship. I’m not protecting and beautifying my house, I’m protecting and beautifying God’s house! Suddenly stewardship was no longer an abstraction. And yet, the funny thing is that rather than being demotivated by such a reminder, I’m more motivated than ever to care for my God’s house. Because I’ve discovered yet another way to love and thank my Creator!

The only thing is, my wife keeps eyeing that weird fruit tree in the back yard…

You know, the one God told us to stay away from?

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir, Quips and Quotes, Religion/Faith and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Sweeping God’s Porch

  1. gpavants says:

    Hi Mitch,

    What a great insight. We manage something the Lord entrusts us with caring for. It’s all on loan, an investment of 10, 5, or 1 talent. I think that’s a believer’s way of not getting materialistic but being a good steward.

    Thanks, brother.


    Liked by 4 people

  2. Linda Lee/Lady Quixote says:

    But.. if I think of our home as God’s house, that means I will have to mop the floor a lot more often. And clean out the junk room. And the garage. And …. okay, yes, this is God’s house.

    Thanks a lot, Mitch. 😉

    Liked by 6 people

  3. I love your bunny names, Mitch. A nice story and a great lesson!

    I had a similar epiphany moment many years ago when selling our house. In the waiting process, I began to resent our little home, until a song came on the radio and rightfully stirred conviction that changed my thought process. The song had a line that said, “This is holy ground, I’m standing on holy ground for where He is is holy.”

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Does this apply to shoveling snow? It snowed here yesterday and it looks so nice that I hate to ruin the scene by shoveling out the driveway.

    I mean – I’m thinking God really made it snow so I’d stay home and do more Bible study. So far my wife isn’t in complete agreement … just looking for a second opinion …

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Sandymancan says:

    Yes sometimes we forget some won’t admit the most important things in life demand work and effort as it’s price

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Nancy Ruegg says:

    We lived in parsonages for forty years and only bought our first home when we retired. Out of all the houses we studied online, and the dozen or so we saw in person, one stood out as the best choice for us–and it was such a bargain because it needed some work. But with its wooded view out the back windows, fresh paint throughout, the new kitchen we were able to install, and the fireplace for winter evenings, we couldn’t be happier. All that to say, we live in God-gifted house too. May I embrace the privilege of caring for it just as you’ve expressed here, Mitch.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Because you love your house; your home! I agree with ‘bigger house, bigger responsibility’, with cleaning!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Best laid plans. I have to rebuild our shed because it looks like it could be condemned! But then I’d have to redo the patio and plant an herb garden and re-establish my rose garden and add a hedge and kill the stupid mulberry trees and prune my cherry tree and…excuse me, I have to go take a nap.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Thanks, Mitch. I was a bit conflicted over our fix-up project. Project is too small a word. Stewardship. Making what is God’s something nice.

    Nice. Thanks!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Lisa Beth says:

    Great post Mitch. Applying the truth of stewardship reframes everything, even my small apartment!
    Press on brother.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Pingback: Sweeping God’s Porch | Talmidimblogging

  12. marlagro says:

    Haha. Great story and analogy! We have wild bunnies here in AZ that I’ve named. They eat crackers out of my hand. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  13. The twist at the end made me LOL. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Mitch,
    I love this so much💕 I’ve got to share it!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Pingback: Sweeping God’s Porch | Restored Ministries Blog

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