Yesterday during my "God Time" (as I tell the girls) I came across the following passage:
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. ~ Titus 3:1-7 (ESV)
The words avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people made me think of what this would look like in practice. They sound like great basic principles on living a good, true, and beautiful life. As I looked off my deck to the mountains in the distance, the trees not too far from my gaze, and the sound of the birds and my ducks scattered about, my mind changed gears and thought about how in a lot of ways our home was a sanctuary: A place of refuge.
To some degree, we've always sought to create a sanctuary out of our home for others. It started when we were first married and out of college. We had a fair share of college students in our apartment complex and made a point of having one or two of them down for dinner at least once a week. Most of them weren't keen on cooking, nor had the money to do so, so this little bit went a long way. It also gave them a break from the routine places (class, home, library to study, etc.) to go and gave them a place to breathe and relax.
This has carried over as we have moved from house to house. We generally have a policy to give us 10 minutes notice before coming over, that way we can clean all the disastrous stuff off the floor 8^D. If all you need is to sit on the deck and enjoy the breeze, we won't bother you. If all you need is an ear to vent on, we won't make any judgements. Typically we try and make you come over near a meal so we can feed you as well, and maybe chat over a glass of wine.
All of the sudden things came back around to the original passage. Providing a sanctuary for others is a good way to live those principles out. It also reminds me of what is more important in life. Our small 1/3 of an acre piece of land, complete with a small garden, 5 ducks, 2 dogs, a tank of fish, twin girls, and a wood stove could be that place others seek and find rest, comfort, and some encouragement. In some way this plumber that reads Plato might make a little dent for the kingdom.