Another abandoned building site that I drive by on the way to work. Mare and I used to dream about buying this acreage and building a house there. The owner was not interested in selling. Apparently he was not interested in maintaining either. But I still spend mental energy at times thinking about how I would like to turn these few acres into a place of beauty. Build a home there. Landscape it into a bit of an Eden. Be creative somehow with this little piece of the creation.
But the owner is not interested in selling. And the owner is not interested in maintaining. So the neglect continues. As does the decline. Don’t get me wrong here; I am not criticizing the land owner, as this is just a little part of a section of farm land, and selling this out of the middle would not be something a lot of agricultural types would be willing to do typically. It is simply another bit of scenery along the way that speaks to me metaphorically about life. About humanity. And specifically about myself.
You see, sometimes I hold on to things that I am not interested in selling. And sometimes they are things that I am not interested in maintaining either. A crazy stance, perhaps; “I want to keep this, but I don’t want to care for it.”
There is a timeless story told by this guy, Jesus, who sometimes spoke in parables. He talks of three different people being given different gifts, or talents. And then as time goes on, there is an observation about how each of them dealt with having such things in their possession. [if you want to read this parable you can look at Matthew chapter 25]
So these dilapidated buildings are a picture that reminds me to do more than hold on to my gifts. My talents. Such neglectful possession does nothing to honor the One who gave them in the first place. It does nothing of healthy contribution to the community of human beings hungrily looking on. And it does nothing to allow Life to flow through the one who was given the gift in the first place.
“The glory of God is man fully alive.” [St. Irenaeus] Such glory has a ripple effect on the world around us. Let us do more than simply hold on to our gifts and talents, expecting them somehow to do what we are asked to do with them. Maintain them. Even better, invest them.