I am always drawn to those articles online that announce “Best Places to Live.” I like to click on those links and read those articles. I like to look at the pictures of small towns and big cities and read about why folks think those are great places to live. Every year, the UN asks this question about countries. In 2021 Norway was number 1, Ireland was number 2, and Switzerland was number 3. Every year, Money Magazine also asks the same question about cities and towns in the US. This past year they ranked Chanhassen, Minnesota number 1, Carmel, Indiana number 2, and Franklin, Tennessee number 3. Forbes does a similar assessment, and each group has its own set of criteria for determining the place that wins.
The ancient wisdom of scripture says the best place to live is in love. You can move to the best place to live according to Forbes, but if you do not live in love there, then you gain nothing. On the flip side, you might be called to live in the slums — the worst place on earth from Money magazine’s point of view — but if you live in the house of love there, you will be rich.
Love has some enemies. Of course, there is hate — which is an obvious enemy of love — but perhaps more common enemies of love are fear and control.
Imagine if one day you are driving down Colorado Boulevard (as our children’s church director was!) and you see some people holding signs outside of King Soopers, and you sense God’s spirit whisper to you to go talk with one who seems especially down…but then you think to yourself “what if they don’t want to talk to me, what if they reject me, what if they blow me off?” Do you notice what happened? Fear just became the enemy of love.
Imagine if you and your partner begin to sense God is leading you to grow your family through adoption, but then you start to realize just how much will be outside of your control. You start to realize that the child you will call your own will have been outside of your care for a certain amount of time before coming home to you; that there will likely be some hurdles in attachment that will need to be addressed and overcome, perhaps over a lifetime. What if you not having control of that journey causes you to back away from God’s call? Control just became the enemy of love.
May we live in the house of love, no matter where we live today.