Here is a challenge to my dear Merced County landlords, and any other landlords for that matter. I challenge landlords and business owners to take on a posture of service and sacrifice over profit and success for success’ sake. What would it look like for landlords around our county to truly take on a posture of service first? Some pastor friends of mine have included me in a monthly time together to read a book called “Embracing Obscurity,” and this read presses the question for anyone in any place of supposed importance: Are we serving as Christ came and served us?
There is a friend of mine who serves his tenants and his tenants wouldn’t even know he is doing so. He goes into the community and serves his community and his community doesn’t know how much behind the scenes he is seeking to do for their long-term growth. What if more landlords would do this more and more? What if landlords would share their stories with one another and challenge one another toward self-imposed rent controls for instance, as my own Dad has modeled for me.
I’ve been a landlord with my wife three times now, and we currently aren’t landlords and are renting an apartment for our little family of four to call home. We love being tenants again, at least for this season as we seek to tighten up our businesses and calm our personal lives. Home is wherever we are together. I know we didn’t make up that line, but we’ve said it since we got married nearly twelve years ago now. Home = us… Home isn’t necessarily the specific place, furniture, temperature, or feel so much as who is there, right?
Imagine a town that hosts her families with gentle and careful attention to those families’ needs. Imagine landlords who take the time to listen and meet their tenants. We lived in another apartment complex here in Merced recently where the landlord used to come around and spend time with the tenants. He really enjoyed checking on them and would self-impose his own rent control onto himself for the needs of his tenants. He would come by frequently even though he lived out of town and would see how his tenants were doing. He knew them by name and would go to special events for them and their families.
My favorite movie comes to mind: It’s a Wonderful Life. What a contrast between Potter and the Bailey family.
For now, I’ll leave this topic right where I’m leaving off now, but how cool would it be to have a regular sharing of stories here or somewhere, stories of landlords who have really blessed us as tenants, landlords who haven’t “lorded” over so much as served from places of humility and mercy, consistent love and faithfulness, understanding and character, even (dare I say this) Christ-like sacrifice. Of course we need to feed our families, but we don’t need to impress each other with our profit margins, friends.
In the joy and love of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, I pray that Merced County would experience a movement of God’s Spirit in the hearts of landlords and tenants alike, that this place we call HOME would be more and more filled with the affection for and among the PEOPLE who make up this little village called Merced.