Jack Price - Homes - August 2003

II Kings 4:2, "...And Elisha said unto her, 'What shall I do for thee? Tell me, what hast thou in the house?' And she said, 'Thine handmaid hath not any thing in the house, save a pot of oil...'"

There are many homes that are represented here today, many homes, and just for a little while this morning we thought it might be helpful and profitable to speak on the 'home life.' The world talks about 'foreign missions.' Well, we like to talk about the 'home mission' - the mission that is worked in the home. We were just singing that hymn, "In the home life His approval makes poor cot a palace fair; brings each day the heavenly sunlight, this because my Lord is there." It is wonderful to have God's approval upon the home life and the home life is just the very basis of this fellowship that we enjoy together. We are quite familiar with this story and it has been mentioned twice in this convention, but this just seemed to help open up a new line of thought here. Elisha said, "Tell me, what hast thou in the house?" It was a very searching question and there was nothing in her home she was ashamed of. She didn't make apologies for anything that shouldn't have been there. I believe she had a clean home, but there was something she did have in her house - her home - and that was a little oil! It was something that God could bless, and I have enjoyed this little thought so much that do you have something in your home that God could bless - no matter what it may be. Can God bless that and if you were to search your home and just with the thought in mind, "Is everything in my home something that God can bless?" If this is so, then your home will be blessed indeed! This day she had in her home that which could be blessed; it was blessed as a result of her pouring it out - pouring it out - or could we put it another way - it was the spirit of God in that home that made the blessing. It is wonderful to be in a home and feel the 'spirit of giving' - not the 'spirit of getting' - not complaining and stirring up strife. That destroys the home life. That is selfishness. But you go to a home where there is the spirit of giving and there is that spirit of pouring out and all that is in that home, that is blessed indeed - that is a blessed home. We frequent homes like that as the servants of God and it brings us most joy when we feel the 'spirit of giving' in the home.

I don't say we always had that spirit in our home because I know there were times when we didn't and I don't recommend putting up a lot of mottos in the home. I remember going to a home that had a motto, "Christ is the head of this house." There was nothing in that home - it was just an empty box! It was just a big sign up on the wall. That is not a home at all. I remember Mother had a sign in our home - she wanted us to look at it when there was a little friction sometimes. It said, "It's love and giving that makes life worth living." I must admit there were a few times that I looked on that. The spirit of giving is a very important part of the home life and I was thinking, too, of that home in John 12 in Bethany. It was the 'spirit of giving' that filled that house with a sweet savor. You will notice that everything in that house was just giving. Jesus was just giving in that home. Jesus was giving fellowship to Lazarus and Lazarus was giving fellowship to Jesus. Martha who at one time had complained about serving, she didn't complain that day! She was just giving, oh! so willingly and freely like she saw others doing around her. Mary had that precious ointment and she poured it out. It was the spirit of giving and that home was just filled with a sweet savor and that is the picture we have of a home that is really blessed.

There is a home we could mention in Genesis 35 - we are not going to dwell on the negative side of this too much. This was an ordained family, but there were things in this home that God couldn't bless. Jacob was not having that really close fellowship with God, and he was so desperate and it seemed as the father of that home that Jacob began to have struggles, and it was because he was not true enough in his own life. If a father isn't true in his own life, it is hard for him to keep a true home. Jacob kept true in his private life. He took the courage one day to do a little housecleaning in his own home. He told them to take out some idols and other images and change their garments. Do you know why Jacob did that? He wanted a clean home, because he knew that was the kind of home that God could bless and God did bless that home. That family was blessed very richly after that.

I think of a family. Maybe we could just mention this. There was a man and his wife that came to gospel meetings a few years ago. They both made their choice. They had never known the truth before. They just came to a few meetings and they made their choice, and there was a great joy to see that and oh! the joy they have now! One day this babe - the mother of this home said to me, "Jack, is there anything that we don't see that you feel we should take out of our lives or out of our home?!" What a beautiful spirit and that touched me deeply because of the many changes that had taken place. They had a TV in their home and we didn't have to ask them to take that out of their home because the Holy Spirit did that! Some people have asked us, "How do you know whether God's people should have a TV or not?" We have seen the Holy Spirit and we just knew that when the spirit began to control their lives, the Holy Spirit would tell them, "You better clean that out!" I don't need any other proof! I don't need any more proof than that. Little babes!! We can learn, whether it is from the oldest or the youngest of God's family.

There was a man that was burdened many years because he smoked a pipe. Did we have to tell him to throw his pipe away? No!! He knew that did not bring blessing and he was willing to take that away. I admired that babe having such a beautiful spirit and asking if there was anything she should do. I said to that precious soul, "I thank God that the Holy Spirit has guided you, and I feel if I would say anything now I would just be detracting from that spirit. We just pray that the Holy Spirit will continue to work and guide in your home." It is continuing to happen and it is a blessed home! There is nothing there but what God could bless and that now they even have a little meeting in that home and oh! they value that meeting so much!!

There is maybe one other little thought in Proverbs 15:27, "He that is greedy of gain troubleth his own house; but he that hateth gifts shall live." I would just like to tell you a little experience of this year. We received a letter from a mother in this home. No one in that home except her knows that I received that letter. At convention I had the opportunity to say something to her. She said in that letter, "My husband, I love him and I love my family and my home, but there is something seriously wrong with our home. My husband has two jobs and he is working day and night - practically seven days a week. One job he has to go work a lot of Sundays. We hardly know him any more! We want him at home. The children need him." That poor soul poured her heart out. We know the home and what can I do about it? I hardly know what to do, but when we have a little opportunity we will approach it there. That home is impoverished because of a man that is greedy for the filthy lucre of this world, we are sorry to say. He comes to meetings and gets something quick on the way to meeting, but he is not taking time. How can we take time with God? How can he offer the morning and evening sacrifice under those conditions? In a few years that man will come to himself and will look back and weep bitterly in some quiet place because he neglected the home mission. We would rather see a family live in a tar paper shack and have the spirit of God in that home and for the father to take time with that family and to take time with God that blesses that home so that it can be a 'blessed' home. I have been in tar paper shacks and I have been in pretty expensive homes, and I can say that I have seen the conditions where truly God has His blessing upon those homes, but don't be concerned about gathering material things when you should be giving your time to your children. We say that today, but we say that because those children are precious to God, there is an eternity before them and now is your chance to work the home mission.

There are a few references we could mention to you - a few things that can be found in the home. Luke 19, salvation coming to a home and that work is vital. A home without salvation would be very empty. You know why salvation came to that home? That man was seeking and he made an effort and invited Jesus to come to his home. Maybe we could mention this incident. An older man and his wife had made their choice. They had a very true little granddaughter. She went to school and the teacher was asking the children a little about their homes. She was asking them what things they had in their homes. The teacher finally came around to this little girl. She had her hair done very neatly and the teacher asked her, "Why do you wear your hair that way?!" She said, "I wear it that way because that is the way my mommy likes it." The teacher asked her another question and then this little girl, said, "You know, teacher, we have something very special in our home." The teacher said, "What is that?" She said, "We have Jesus in our home." That was a pretty good little testimony. Salvation was in that home. That is pretty important and that little girl knew it too! She was not ashamed to tell it and the teacher took it very nicely. She respected that little girl. She knew that she was true!

Another home we could mention was a home where there was fellowship. That was found in Acts 16:15, "And when she was baptized, and her household she besought us, saying, 'If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there.' And she constrained us." That is Lydia's home. You know that fellowship is a blending of spirits, isn't it?! Lydia had received that same spirit and those servants of God had fellowship now and there was an open home. Verse 40, "And Paul chose Silas and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God." That was an open home. That meant a lot to those servants of God. We can't tell you how much that meant to them. Once my companion and I were in a town where there were no friends for some distance and we were staying in a room in an old hotel where we could prepare for the meetings. We looked out the window and wondered which home would open first for fellowship. We saw a home high on a hill and after we had Gospel meetings we started some fellowship meetings in that very home and that home is very, very precious to me!! Homes to God's servants are very precious because of experiences of places like that - we just know if a home will open up, then there is a place where we can gather and have fellowship with His people. We had some wonderful times together - memories!

I Timothy 5:14, "But if any widow have children or nephews, let them learn first to shew piety at home, and to requite their parents: for that, is good and acceptable before God." "Learn to shew piety at home." This means 'kindness.' You know, there was a little thought maybe we could express that was kind of real to me this last year about this matter of kindness. The lawyer asked, "Who is my neighbor?" Jesus told him how to be a neighbor. Often that is my attitude. "Who will be a neighbor to me?!!" Jesus didn't come at it from that angle, but how you can be a neighbor! It came to me very real one time when I was reading that my closest neighbor is my companion. It is not a matter of being concerned who is my neighbor, but how I can be a neighbor. I got a few things straightened out. In the home life, we could apply it the same way. In the home life, you could feel these people that are closest to me, they owe me something and I am just going to get all I can of them, but we know that doesn't work. I've heard a saying once - we could be a street angel and a house devil! That is a pretty rough saying, but there is a lot of thought in it. We could be lovely to everybody else, we could be fine at work. I know a man that is a prince at work, but you couldn't describe him at home! He's just marvelous at work! He comes home and takes it all out on the family. Is that fair? It begins at home! It should begin at home - this piety. This has helped me a lot this past year and this is for myself. In every person, there is a fault side and a virtue side! Show me the person that hasn't got both of them and they are a pretty exceptional person. Normally people have these two sides. It is my tendency to look at my virtue side and at your fault side! Doesn't that make wonderful fellowship?! You should reverse that and look at your fault side! I don't mean that you should look at your faults until you are discouraged, but a little glance once in a while helps you look at the virtue side and always helps others. We will say, "My, that person has changed a lot!!" We don't want to go all through life being an old grouch. Eternity is too long for that. Maybe that is enough about that.

There is another thought in Matthew 18, where we read of 'obedience' the home. It was just that thought where He brought that little child in the midst of His disciples - "This little child." Could it be suggested that this little boy came from a home where he had learned obedience? Jesus called that little boy and set him down in the midst of His disciples. He did not show off or anything. He didn't call Jesus and ask him who he thought he was! This little child didn't do that. This little child came when Jesus called and sat down there in just a humble manner and oh, what a beautiful example to those disciples - they would never forget that. It is wonderful to think that in that day there was a home like that where children could be raised. We know there are many homes like that today! We could say, "That little child has learned obedience." Obedience in a home really brings blessings!

Now if we could just slip over to Deuteronomy. Someone has said that Deuteronomy is the Sunday school we believe in! Deuteronomy 11:19, "And shall teach them to your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up." In connection with that life, it uses that expression of "as the days of heaven upon the earth." That is concerning the home life now. Do you have a home like that where there is an atmosphere in that home that is a little bit of heaven? It is nice, isn't it? You notice they were going to have the Lord with them and that would be their soul and might, and then they were to have this in their heart that God had given them and then they were to teach it diligently. They were really to put something into this, but first of all there was to be the example. I think of a home we frequent once in a while. If I was really discouraged and down, I think that is the first home I would head for! Every time I go to that home it just gives me a tremendous lift. You know, it is a home where God is first and you are not in that home five minutes and the man of that home is telling you something fresh out of the scriptures. I have come away from that home and my own soul was fed. Just the condition in that home promotes fellowship and many times that has given thoughts for Gospel meetings and I have left that home just loaded! I was in that home not long ago, but it is pretty hard to stay away; and the oldest daughter of that home was in the city some miles away. It was less than two minutes when that father and the daughter were on the phone and they were exchanging some very fresh thoughts that they had enjoyed! They are not unbalanced! In his youth he was an unsaved man - a religious man. He is very balanced, but he loves the way of God. He loves it and he teaches it to his children. The oldest daughter just started out in the harvest field! When I think back of the home life I grew up in, the earliest memories I have is just like right back into the dim past history - it is that my mother and father were true to God and that they really meant it! They were sincere. I knew they were true to God. I knew they were serving God, and that is a very precious memory in my heart today and I know it had a lot to do with where I am today!! They were not only teaching it, but they were an example. You can't fool those little ones. They know, and I know my mother and father were true to God and oh! I thank God for that!

In Genesis 18 (we have heard of this already), but here is Abraham. God's servants were coming and the presence of God was with them. We see Abraham sitting at the tent door. I have enjoyed this thought lately and I am sure we have all seen it. Abraham just loved to be around home. He didn't say to Sarah, "I have a few hours off and maybe I can go and see the neighbours." Abraham, he loved to be around home and that is a credit to Sarah! There was a man and his wife and they had a little boy and that man was a truck driver. That woman was so true that that man began to love his home more and more until finally he made a real sacrifice. One day, he shut the truck down. He came and took a job with a company near home, so he could enjoy that home and remodel his house and he just wanted to be around home all the time! We love to go to that home and now he has gone to meetings and professed and what a beautiful home today! I can't tell you the joy that it gave me. We give the credit to God, but that woman had a lot to do with that. She made it so that it was impossible to stay away! Today they have a home blessed of God, and it is a clean home and it is a home where there is love.

Proverbs 17:1, "Better is a dry morsel, and quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife." Even if you just had a dry morsel and there was quietness - there was unity in that home and God was blessing that home. It would be better than a whole lot of sacrifices and strife.

I would just like to tell you about a little family very dear to us. There are six children in that family - five are professing. Not long ago we went to visit that home. We don't get a chance to go very often. It is not in our field, exactly, but this day we sneaked over. I saw something in that home that has left an impression on me. I was sitting in the front room and the mother was getting the supper and the girls were there, up into their teens and those girls were all around in the kitchen. Sometimes we see things that others don't know - people figure we are reading the paper or something!! I saw something very beautiful. That mother was working with those girls and it was a sight to behold. The harmony - the unity - the love that was amongst them was beautiful.

There was one girl and she got to be 15 in that home and I am sure she had the same chance as the rest of them. Sometimes we see partiality, but there was none of that. She had not professed yet and she was really struggling and not willing, and you might say she was that way. Maybe she just had a little more difficult nature there. She had the same home life, the same chance. But the spirit of that home began to win and she began to come to some of the gospel meetings and one night she sat right up in the front row and when the meeting was tested she stood to her feet sobbing - she made her choice, and she made it very definite. She proved it, too! You know what touched me the most was when that family went out of the meeting. The father was in tears - the mother was in tears. Every one of those children were in tears. The other girls were in tears. The little boy was coming out and he was filled with tears, too. We knew he will make it, too! They didn't have that much - they are not well off. They have a very humble home but that is a rich home. It is a home blessed of God.

I trust that these few little thoughts might be a help to you and it will make your home a rich home and that you will just be faithful and diligent, and that God can bless - really bless, and even those little ones will grow up to call you "BLESSED" and be a joy to you for His name's sake.