ADD A ROOM

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According to John’s gospel, Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many dwelling places” (John 14:2). I began thinking about my house and its many rooms. This question came to mind, “If you could add a room to your house, what would you build, and why?

If you could add a room to your house, what would you build, and why?

Some people I’ve talked to told me about rooms they were adding to their houses. One person is adding a storage room. Who could not use extra storage space? My family lived in a house for forty-four years. The basement collected lots of stuff. One time a mother and her son were over visiting and the boy went down into the basement. Suddenly we heard a loud comment from below, “Who trashed this place?” I’m sure it looked that way to him, but my wife would say it was organized and she knew where things were. You have probably observed that many storage buildings are being built around our country and people are renting the rooms and filling them up with more of their stuff. I don’t think we will be taking much stuff to God’s house, but we certainly need space for that in this culture.

Another person told me of a growing family, so they are adding a room to house their kids. Others are adding a garage so they can keep their car, boat, motorcycle, or whatever, out of the sun and rain. A friend of mine turned part of his garage into a wood shop so he could permanently lay out his tools and enjoy building birdhouses, and other things for his grandkids and for his wife. One of my friends is adding a room to provide living accommodations for an additional family member to move into. His beloved wife has a severe medical condition, and he needs help to care for her so she can remain at home.

I met a woman once who had changed her basement into a grotto. The special room was built to look like a natural cave and she made it as a place to retreat from her busyness and enjoy a time of relaxed meditation on God’s words. I admired her idea. We live in a busy culture and we are constantly pushed to be more productive. Many need times of rest from hectic schedules and stress. I came across a quote from a Roman statesman; an orator named Cicero. He said, “He does not seem to me to be a free man who does not sometimes do nothing.” Certainly, we all need regular times of rest and thoughtfulness on what’s going on in our lives. I have been told that if we had a special place that was always the same place to meet with God, whenever we went there, we would sense his presence and experience his peacefulness. Such rooms can be special places for strengthening the depleted soul.

Personally, my answer to the question of what room I would build, and why, would be to add a room in which small groups could meet. Our house already serves persons who come for grief support, but we need room for larger groups to meet, say 12-15 people. My wife and I have regularly belonged to small groups who come together to discuss the faith in Christ that we share in common, to deepen relationships with one another by talking about the good or bad that is happening in our daily lives, and to help each other with problems and challenges we are facing.

Returning to the words of Christ that we read at the beginning of this article, we ask, what are the rooms in his father’s house, and why are they there? We discover that he further stated, “I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself, that where I am, you may be also” (John 14:2-3). Can you believe it? The creator and ruler of the universe is preparing rooms in his father’s house for people he loves, redeemed, and wants to be with him. He wants to take us away from this evil, stress-filled world of suffering and death, to live in a new world of his making, a world of peace, perfect love, rewarding work, and goodness. Sound too good to be true? You can have Christ Jesus add a room for you by accepting his invitation to enter into a relationship with him.

However, you need to understand that it will be a costly relationship. It demands painful honesty, a commitment to learn from him, and giving up your life to find a better one. It sounds odd, but there is a sense in which we must lose our life if we want to discover a new, loving, and active life together with him and others, along with the absolute promise of a dwelling place surpassing your grandest and most delight-filled imagination.

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Jay Ashbaucher
Jay Ashbaucher is a native of Northwest Ohio and is currently a retired pastor and published author. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and has been a pastor and teacher in Montana for over 44 years. Jay taught grief classes in a hospital setting, and worked for twenty years as a fifth-step counselor and lecturer in an alcoholic-drug treatment center getting to know the hearts of people struggling to get well. While pastoring in Montana, he had enjoyed racquetball, hunting, fishing, and traveling the Big Sky State. Now living in Southeast Michigan, Jay enjoys his family, reading, hiking, golf, time with friends, and time with his fun-to-be-with wife. They have two happily married children and seven grandchildren.