June 2011

It was a totally unexpected and amazing present. It wasn’t prompted by a birthday or anniversary or in fact any ‘do not forget or else!’ dates – it was simply a present to show our family love. A present to create time and space for us to relax, unwind and take a break. The present was a two night stay in a hotel in London and tickets to see a show.

There was however one important factor that wasn’t immediately obvious – the exact location of the hotel. A number of years ago Cathy and I lived in London and each day my commute from where we lived ‘in London’ to where I studied ‘in London’ took two hours – two hours there and two hours back. London is a big place! Also the majority of the museums and monuments, historical buildings and hysterically dressed entertainers and tourists dwelt at the centre of the city. A hotel on the outskirts would have a real impact on our stay. It would not spoil or make the break pointless of course, rather require us to think more about how we intended on relaxing. For example, if one of the kids accidentally left something behind in our hotel room, popping back to fetch it may require a small expedition to be planned. Or at the end of the day, sitting down watching the world go by, no matter how weary we were, before bed a long tube journey and walk would be demanded. These things were not deal breakers, rather influencers on how we did things. Location is important.

We decided to Google the hotel’s address and were stunned by its location. The Premier Inn hotel was part of the old huge County Offices situated across from the houses of Parliament. Our temporary home was in chiming distance of Big Ben, a minute’s walk from the London Eye, a stone’s throw from the River Thames, a short stroll from tube stations that connected London together – we were smack bang in the middle of London!

Not surprisingly we had a brilliant time, walked miles and miles, saw loads and loads, then walked some more. Each evening we strolled alongside the River Thames, watching street performers, other tourists and the city’s illumination transitioning before our very eyes. Then, when weariness took hold, we casually meandered around the corner to our hotel room. Location is everything!

This made me ponder. There is a verse in the Bible - Colossians 3v16 – which says “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”. This is a call to go deeper with God. To go deeper than simply knowing how to find and access the Word of Christ, but rather to allow the Word of Christ to set up camp, make a home, to dwell in you. To take prime location.

I wonder how often situations in life are made more complicated because I haven’t allowed the Word of Christ to dwell in the centre of who I am. Instead of pondering, reflecting and owning for myself a truth of God, I’ve given it a non-central location. Perhaps I’ve written it down and put it somewhere safe, maybe underlined it in my Bible or tried to make a mental note of where to look when I needed help. I haven’t denied the truth, but I’ve made it more difficult to access it, given it a non-central location in my life. The impact of this is that situations can easily get more complicated, require more work, create more heartache because God’s truth has not been made central to my life.

Put more simply and practically: the Bible has loads to say about love, forgiveness, grace, work, marriage, parenting, dealing with conflict, money, serving, trust, confession, etc., if we do not purposefully keep God’s Word central, other influencers will take God’s place and impact how we live.

This isn’t a call to be a walking concordance, able to quote chapter and verse on an array of Biblical subjects, rather a call to ponder, reflect and allow God’s truths to take up central residency in our lives, to dwell in our hearts, to mould our thinking, to inform and impact our decisions and choices.

What has God said? What is God saying? To you, your family, your small group, our church? What are you going to do with that? At home, at work, at church, on holiday?

Remember, location is everything.

Mark Madavan

 
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