So my latest adventure is becoming a landlord. I'm doing my best to "diversify" and "invest wisely" while trying to actually do a good thing for my community at the same time. Boy does that sound hokey as I read it...but it's true. Yes, I'm hoping to be profitable as a landlord, but at the same time, I do have this (perhaps overly) optimistic idea that I can be a "good landlord" and shine God's light in a different corner of my community at the same time. Time will tell if I've read the memo from the Lord correctly...or if this will be a glorious mess of an idea!
I recently had an apartment come available and am going through the steps of meeting people, showing them the place, taking applications, and deciding who will be a good tenant. To say the least, I've been overwhelmed. Not with the process, but with the stories of the various broken people looking for a decent place to call home.
In two days' time, I've had 17 people line up to come see the place - all from one basic Facebook post. As I was driving to the apartment to meet people for the first time, I was talking to the Lord, asking Him to send me "good tenants" and "to give me wisdom when selecting the right folks to rent to" and oh yes..."Lord please show me this is what I should be doing with my time and money". Minutes later...BLAMO! The Lord hits me with one heck of a reality check!
Of that group of prospective tenants, 95% of them were either single moms with young children, folks separated from their husband or wife, or folks wanting to share a bed before they've shared their vows. One couple is trying to help get their son back on track who is currently in jail and needs a house before he can be paroled. This young man has two young kids that the mother abandoned when he went to jail and they are doing all they can to keep the kids tracking straight (Grandma and Grandpa looked so very tired as they explained the situation) - what a mess.
As I drove home, my mind rolled around what I just experienced. I thought "Is this truly a cross-section of my community today?" Maybe it isn't statistically accurate, I understand - but this was a real eye-opener for me. Lots of lost folks who need far more than a simple apartment - they need a better road map for their lives.
As I was driving home, I kept thinking, "Where do i go from here Lord? Do you want me to hold tight and wait for a Christian couple who are trying to live right, or are you sending me this group of folks so that I can hopefully be a positive influence on their lives? You have to help me out here Lord - I'm too stupid to see this clearly."
Now look - I'm TERRIBLE at being able to quote scripture! I am fairly decent at the places in the Bible to go look for specific topics and using it to give me guidance and answers - but I cannot throw out chapter/verse on a whim. One thing I've learned is that the Book of James gives me great insight to situations like this - ones that are hard to discern and figure out. So I began reading this morning and this is what the Lord laid in my lap.
James 5: 19-20: 19 My brothers and sisters, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring that person back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of their way will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.
Ok Lord - message received. I'll roll up my sleeves and dig in!