About 9 years ago, I went out looking for my first new home. I started with some single-family homes at first. But, being a younger guy, I wanted to be closer to the city, at least until I got married. So, I began looking at single-bedroom condos in the Fenway area of Boston. The first one I looked at was spacious and at a decent location – but it was in awful condition. And the window view was a nice scene of bricks. The second and the third – same thing. I was dejected. I went back to the real estate agent’s office, and we were looking at listings on a computer, and I noticed a listing in the Back Bay. A little more expensive, I’m thinking, but still in my price range. Let’s check this out.
It was a studio unit, instead of a one bedroom. It was a little small, too: only 560 square feet. Plus, it was in the basement. And no parking. But I wanted to go look at it. When I saw it, I heard “yes” inside me. Right away, I told my broker, “I want to put an offer down on this.”
Why did I want to put an offer down on a small cubby hole in a basement? Why did I give up a nice single-family home with the yard and the driveway What was I thinking?
Location, Location, Location.
See, the unit is in a brick townhouse in the most exclusive part of Boston. We are talking multi-million dollar historic residences in a multi-million dollar historic neighborhood. It was quiet and tree-lined, even though it’s in the heart of the city. The most beautiful streets are there, Marlborough Street with its brick sidewalks and gas lamps. You’ve got Commonwealth Avenue with its big noble residences. I could get to work by foot, bike, train, bus, and car. The condo was directly across the street from the Charles River, and you know what, when the Fourth of July fireworks display went off in Boston, they were launched directly across the street from my home.
When I gave up the nice home with the yard and driveway, and bought the small basement cubby hole with no parking and no bedroom, I got the best neighborhood in the city. I made a big sacrifice to live in a neighborhood I really wanted to live in more than anything else.
Location, location, location.
Peter and the apostles had a lot of good stuff going on in their lives before they chose to follow the Lord. When the Lord called these men to leave everything to follow Him, they had to make a big sacrifice. They were invited to leave their own lives, their own families, their own homes, their work.
Why did they do it? Why did they take the arduous trekking around, the homelessness, the gossip of neighbors, the humiliating looks from the crowds, the demanding attitudes of the poor and suffering, the continual thankless giving, the anger and the plotting of the religious self-righteous? Why did they take such a low, poor, and radical condition?
They did it because there was something they wanted more than anything else: they were getting to live with Him, in His Kingdom. They were getting the best of all neighborhoods. And they had to give up their own kingdoms to receive it.
Vocation, vocation, vocation.
Here’s the question: do we love Him? Do we want to live with Him more than anyone else? Do we want to live in His Kingdom rather than in our own kingdom?
If we can say “yes” to these questions, then we know we can give up everything to live with Him.
Vocation, vocation, vocation.
Peter began to say to him, “Lo, we have left everything and followed you.” Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. (Mk 10:28-30)