This Place Matters

Early on Saturday mornings, I enjoy my weekly long run with two or three other guys.   At this time of year, it’s usually pretty dark when we start. Last Saturday, when we passed by the police station on Main Street, I spied a plainly printed sign that simply said

                        “This place matters”. 

I wasn’t sure I had seen it right, so I drove by later that afternoon, parked and got out of the car for a closer look.  Was it a police department slogan?  A new Chamber of Commerce initiative?  Well, sure enough; the sign said “This place matters” and the small print in the corner indicated that the sign was placed on that door by The Historic Preservation  Trust.   They were making a statement about the value of an older building that’s been a part of our downtown area for years.

                                    “This place matters”

It’s great to be passionate about preserving old buildings in our community—to honor and remember our past.  But what if we applied that phrase to our entire community?  Shelbyville, Shelby County, Simpsonville, Finchville, Clayvillage, Bagdad, Waddy and all our communities matter.  This place we call home matters. This place where we raise our children, enjoy sunsets, eat out, work, play with our grandchildren, golf in the mornings, go to school and more…matters.   No matter where we live, work and play, we can say

                                    “This place matters”

And for Jesus’ people, this place matters to God’s global and eternal mission.  Place has always had a strong part of what it means to be on mission making disciples.  God called Abraham to a place, and from that place, intended to make a people who would bless all peoples.  Jesus’ Great Commission is to make disciples in “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth”—mission to places — because people are there.  See, if we leave mission as a general theory, it will get fuzzy.  Leave it for the nations “Out There” – and it stays distant– or unreached peoples—nameless, faceless folks that can be ignored. 

                                                But “this place matters”

            Listen to Paul: “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Cherist Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours.”  (1 Cor. 1:2)  We’re called to be saints and call on Jesus name right here.

                                              “this place matters”

There is something unique about the spiritual atmosphere, spiritual need and spiritual mission in Shelbyville.  We are not a franchise of other places. Spreading His fame here is no accident, but a part of a sovereign plan. God has us – and the people who have yet to know Him– here for His reasons. “From one man he made every nation of men,that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” (Acts 1:26-27) There is something that our Father has uniquely designed, gifted and deployed us to do in the service of His mission.

                                    “This place matters”

We’re in this community for good – people’s good and the spread of God’s glory.  Yes, we’re here for the spiritual good of all people—and that only comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ. But to get there, to gain a hearing, it’s crucial that our neighbors know that we’re here for all that’s good in Shelbyville and Shelby County. Economic good, educational good, people needs good, arts good, safety good, downtown development good, single parents’ good, at-risk children’s good, health good, retirees good, working families’ good, racial harmony good—and on and on.

                                    Why? “This place matters”

                                                  because…

                                         the people here matter

                                                    because

                                  the gospel matters here

                                                      in this place.

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