Only recently did we have our property line surveyed. When we moved into our home, I continued to mow the lawn to the spot that the previous owner had mowed the lawn. Everything was fine – and frankly it hardly mattered where the exact property line was located – until it mattered. The city identified a diseased tree in the wooded area behind our house that seemed very close to the property line. Then on the other side, a family moved into the house next door and wanted to build a tree house in a tree that seemed very close to that property line. Whose responsibility and even liability would these trees and any potential damage be? It now mattered where the legal property line was located.
Reading Joshua, we have three chapters about property lines. I read quickly because the verses are not particularly interesting and don’t seem to matter – to me. Is there a reason why these chapters were important enough to be included in the Bible? It is a historical record – like going to the city office to find my plot line. We know enough about human nature that there are bound to be issues, even disputes with the family. All of the land is a gift. As the recipients of such a gift, there is a God-given responsibility to honor and care for the gift – all of it.
Then we read Paul’s response to the Christians with the issue of eating meat sacrificed to idols. They have knowledge that there is no harm in eating the meat because the idols are meaningless. But what if new Christians who do not yet possess this knowledge are hurt when they see other Christians eating the meat? Paul is saying, let love be your guide. Don’t let knowledge get you all “puffed up”. Let love be your guide.
It is important to know where our property line is located. I don’t want to unknowingly do something that will infringe on my neighbors. But if the tree is so close to the line that we need a surveyor to determine whose tree it is, let love be the guide. Let’s work together to remove the tree, to bear the cost. It is holding whatever is in question to the light and allowing the light of love to shine through.
What is your “property line” that needs to be held up to the light so God’s love can shine through?