My seven-year-old son Jack’s Sunday School teacher, who knows that we are in the middle of house hunting, asked me if we were looking at a house with a pool. “Yes, ” I said, “Why?” She said that Jack had told the whole Sunday School class that we might buy a house that has a pool, because everyone was talking about going swimming. He is obviously as excited about that prospect as I am, but the conversation with his teacher put me on the defensive. I told her that I was afraid if we bought this house, people who knew that Justin was a pastor would see it and look at each other knowingly and say, “That sure is a fine house the Kendricks bought.” Now, if you are not from the southern part of the United States, I will translate that sentence for you: That preacher boy must be getting paid way too much to afford a house with a pool. Well, I am showing the ugly in me just by saying that, because if God made it possible to buy a nice house (I feel compelled to point out now that it backs up to a busy road, the room layout is awkward, and the bathrooms are tiny – that may be why we can consider it in our price range), and we end up buying that house, I need to just rejoice in his goodness and not get all wadded up about what congregants may or may not be thinking.
It reminds me of a time about 13 years ago when Justin and I were joining a church in Charlotte, where we lived when we first got married. The pastor and his wife invited all of the new members of the church to their house for a potluck supper. We got to his house, which was pretty new, and all I could think about was how did a pastor have such a nice house. And it was a nice house, but for Pete’s sake, why did it matter to me what his house looked like? The irony of that scene and the situation we are in now is not lost on me. I would like to smack that little 23-year-old me upside the head and say, “Be glad for him!”
In a country where everyone lives and buys to excess, it is hard to know any longer what is appropriate when buying a house. I pray that whatever we do, we will be good stewards of the resources God has given us, and not worry about what everyone else thinks.