Two Letters to My Landlord
I moved into a little apartment this past year, and ever since I've been praying that my landlord would come to know Jesus.
I've committed to leaving the place better than when I came and to being a thoughtful tenant. After all, everything I do reflects on Christ, as my landlord knows I'm a Christian.
Still, living well is not ultimately enough to share Christ with someone. People have to hear the gospel before they can understand it (Rom. 10:13–14).
My First Letter
So, one month when I sat down to write my landlord a note to accompany my rent check, I tried slipping God into my talk of cable cords, nail holes, and trashcans. (By way of background, my landlord had slipped a short note in my mailbox apologizing for not getting some work done for me, as her dad was sick.)
My note went like this:
No worries at all. Your care for your dad is infinitely more important than cable cords and nail holes!
In fact, it's an example to me of how I desire to live in the future. And it's beautiful to God, who commands us to honor our parents and promises to bless us when we do (Exodus 20:12).
Praying for you both. Let me know if I can do anything to help on my end (sorry, you beat me to the trash last night!).
Loving my apartment!
Thankfully, my mom always taught me to sit on a message before sending it. As I thought about the note I'd written, I started to question . . .
- Is anything that's done apart from faith in Christ really beautiful to God? (Heb. 11:6).
- Would this note give my landlord false confidence that she had an "in" with God apart from Christ?
- Would this note ultimately be helpful to her if it didn't point her to Christ?
So I took another stab at it:
Thanks so much for patching those holes and removing the cable cords for me. And no worries about not getting to it until now. Your care for your dad is infinitely more important than cable cords and nail holes!
In fact, it's an example to me of how I desire to live in the future, and it reminds me of Jesus. John 19 records that He made sure His friend would take care of His mom after He left earth—and He saw to this while hanging on a cross as the substitute for the sins of all who would put their trust in Him. How amazing to be thinking of others while in such agony!
All that to say, I'm grateful for you, and I'm loving my apartment.
I still need to get you the checklist—hopefully by early next week. Sorry for the delay (and for not beating you to the trash this week!)
Why do I share this with you? Not because it was the perfect note. I realize it was . . . zealous. Possibly too much so. But:
- Did it point her to the beauty of Christ?
- And is time short?
- And could I love her in any better way than sharing Christ with her?
I've been camping out in Colossians lately, which is quite possibly the most Christ-centered letter in the Bible. Paul wrote this letter not to his unbelieving landlord, but to the believing church at Colosse. He wrote it to urge them not to add to Christ. Christ is enough; Christ is everything:
"See to it that no one takes you captive by philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ" (Col. 2:8).
Let's make sure we're not inadvertently doing the same thing by failing to point others to Christ. Let's not forget the main point. Rather, the main Person. All of Scripture points to Jesus! (Luke 24:27).
Are you sharing Jesus Christ with others, or are you settling for something less?
Written by Paula Hendricks
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