Column: Oceanfront Property
For all of our songs, books, bumper stickers and trinkets, Jesus is little more than “a house on the beach” to many people.
In his book, You Are the Treasure That I Seek, Greg Dutcher describes an oceanfront house that he and his family have occasional access to in Bethany Beach, Delaware. Dutcher has a friend who allows him to vacation there for free.
It’s a beautiful house and can you imagine a more ideal arrangement? The house provides his family with quick access to the beach, the boardwalk, and everything else that makes such a destination appealing. Dutcher, however, points out that, if this house had a soul, it would despise him. Why? Because he likes the house only for what he can get out of it.
If you were to take this same house and place it in the middle of an Iowa cornfield, he admits that he would have no desire to stay there. The house is a means to an end. Without the relaxing waves, the warm sand, and the inviting shops, the house just loses its appeal. He is using the house to get to the fun and the comfort of a relaxing vacation.
The author’s concern is that his attitude toward this beach house is indicative of many people’s attitude toward Jesus today. For all of our songs, books, bumper stickers, and trinkets, Jesus is little more than “a house on the beach” to many people – a means to an end. Take away the fringe benefits, like blessings, answered prayer, and all of the other good gifts that flow from His hand, and many people would abandon the Lord.
Do you view Jesus simply as a blessing giver? Sort of like a divine bellhop who is at your every beck and call? Do you use Him just to have access to the good stuff?
Now, it is true that, when you trust in and follow the Lord, heavenly blessings come in abundance. Jesus provides grace, mercy, forgiveness, joy, hope, and much more. Ephesians 1:3 tells us that God has “blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” There is no question that God bestows many, many wonderful things upon us when we trust in Him. However, our passion should be for the Lord Himself and not merely for what He provides.
How do you suppose a mom and dad would feel if their child cared only for what the parents could provide and showed little respect to his or her parents? Have you ever had a one-sided friendship – where your friend just wanted what he could get out of you, but didn’t care about you as a person at all? The Bible says, “We love Him (Jesus) because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19). Our love for Jesus should be deep because of His tremendous love for us.
Don’t treat Jesus like a beach house – using Him just so that you can get His blessings. Instead, develop a deep and committed love for Him by spending time with Him in prayer, in His Word, and in worship. Then, you will be able to say, like the old songwriter, “Jesus is all the world to me.”
In His Service,
About the Author
William Wimmer is the Senior Pastor at First Church of God in Sapulpa. He has been in ministry for over 28 years.