Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Luxury, Rottweilers and Broken Gate Openers

What do you get when you combine two labrador retrievers and one rottweiler in a $3,000,000 home equipped with an indoor hot tub, an exercise room, outdoor water fountain, two sinks in a gigantic kitchen and a BMW and a Porche in the garage?

MY home for two weeks!

I am house sitting in a goregous home in a ritzy neighborhood near Denver. A friend of mine who owns a cleaning business referred me to this couple as someone who would be a reliable, honest, responsible house and dog sitter. So, I met with the owners of the home a couple of times and received my instuctions (which were a detailed 6 pages long!). Last Saturday I began the two week job while they are on vacation.

My main responsibility and attention is to care for Fraser, Kaiser and Forsberg, the dogs. One needs a barking collar, one gets a pill at each meal, one follows you everywhere, one will not come when you call him, one needs to be covered up with a blanket when he goes to bed, one knocks over the trash, one digs holes....shall I go on? It has been an adventure so far and I still have five days to go!

It has been quite a task to run someone else's home while they are away. My six pages of instructions include (but are not limited to) the following:

1- Take care of dogs. Feed twice daily. Forsberg in the garage around 5:30AM and the other dogs in the laundry room before 7:00AM. Feed all dogs in garage between 4-7PM. Don't forget to give Kaiser his pill. Let them play outside in the afternoon and bring them inside whenever you can. Put to bed, cover Forsberb with his blankie.

2- Water plants. (There are a lot of them and each plant needs to be watered differently at different times...)

3- Check hot tub once a week. Check filter and put cleaning tablet inside.

4- Let cleaning people in. Hide gate opener for cleaning people and lock up rottweiler because he scares them.

Misfortunes experienced thus far:
1- Set fire/ burglar alarm off twice. After trying to get the thing to stop screeching the security company calls and asks if everything is ok. You then have to give them your password and the security code. They ask again, "Are you sure everything is ok? You are safe? There is no fire or boogie man?" Well, maybe they do not say that, but pretty close... And I want to answer, "I'm FINE! I am not used to a security alarm that screams at you when you forget to shut it off at 5:30 in the morning when I am still half asleep and there are dogs that need to go potty and I want to go back to bed!" No, I just say, "Everything is fine, thank you for calling." Then I crawl under a rock and swear I will not forget again! (Except I've done it twice...)

2- Dropped gate opener and broke it. I took the task upon myself to get it fixed. I opened (praying I would not break it too!) the other gate opener to see how the numbers were set. I switched the numbers 1-10 to look like the other opener and headed down the lane to try it out. I stand at the gate and press the button. Nothing. Thinking that maybe I had the numbers backwards, I do the exact opposite pattern and press the button- Success!!!!! One less thing I have to tell the owner when they get home...

3- Cannot find Rottweiler. It was late. I was tired. I go to put the dogs to bed and cannot find Kaiser, the Rott. I yell for him, walking through the house turning all the lights on trying to find him. "KAISER!" No reply. I head up the back stairs toward my bedroom that is pitch black when I hear a deep throat growling sound. I reach around the door way to flip the light switch. There he was, growling, with his big black eyes staring at me. I think I startled him. He had not growled at me up to that point and has not since.

Things I have learned:
1- Wealthy people buy all name-brand items.
2- Big, fancy houses need a lot of care and attention.
3- A well-behaved dog is a treasure.
4- Rottweilers are not as scary as they look.
5- It takes a long time to vacuum a 6,000 square foot house. (I have only vacuumed the areas where I have spent most of my time... but I am only assuming how long it would really take to do the whole place! I guess that's why they pay someone to do it...)
6- It is really handy to have two sinks in the kitchen.
7- Big, fancy houses have messy rooms too.
8- It is REALLY nice to have all kinds of exercise equipment at my disposal.
9- I do not think I could live alone.
10- I miss my family.

I have enjoyed the afternoon and evenings of quiet. With four younger siblings my home is not at peace until about 9PM. I am a person who is energized by times alone with God and being able to sit in quiet. I miss my family terribly, but thank God for this little retreat to focus on Him and gain refreshment.

I have done a lot of thinking about places around the world where I have been and would like to go. Money, possessions and status mean little to me. I am not completely abandoned to God yet or I would be able to say that they mean nothing to me. I'm still working on that one! Living in a rich person's home has given me a look into the culture of wealth, but has caused me a longing for the destitute. What would the woman in the grass hut I visited in Africa think of this mansion? Talk about two worlds colliding!

Yet Jesus left the glory of heaven and became a human. He became a human of the least people in the world, to the poorest of that people and lived His life without possessions or home taking His attention.

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father."
Philippians 2:5-11

"As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good bye to my family." Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."
Luke 9:57-62

He calls His followers to abandon everything- yes, everything- and follow Him. Everything. Everything includes money, possessions, status, family, home, customs, climate, familiarity and even my life.

"Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?"
Luke 9:23-25

So there it is. There is my story of the mansion. I will allow myself to be spoiled, but I will not get attached. I will have fun and take ths time as a gift from God, but I will remember my brothers and sisters around the world who are suffering. Many are in chains for the gospel, starving, being beaten, tortured and killed.

"I know what it is to be in need,
and I know what it is to have plenty.
I have learned the secret of being content
in any and every situation,
whether well fed or hungry,
whether living in plenty or in want.
I can do everything through him
who gives me strength."
Philippians 4:12-13

"But godliness with contentment is great gain.
For we brought nothing into the world
and we can take nothing out of it.
But if we have food and clothing,
we will be content with that.
People who want to get rich fall into temptation
and a trap and into many foolish and harmful
desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.
For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.
Some people, eager for money,
have wandered from the faith and pierced
themselves with many griefs.
But you, man of God, flee from all this,
and pursue righteousness, godliness,
faith, love, endurance and gentleness."
1 Timohty 6:6-11
"Keep your lives free from the love of money
and be content with what you have,
because God has said,
"Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you."
So we say with confidence,
"The Lord is my helper;
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?"
Hebrews 13:5-6


katie said...

I love that Hebrews passage because of way those two thoughts are linked

"be content"
"I will never leave nor forsake you"

Like all of God's commands, He wants us to count the cost of obedience. And, as He Himself tells us, He is willing to give us in HIMSELF and our relationship with HIM far more than we will ever lose by the momentary "sacrifices" required to live a life of contentment.

That verse has always been such a comfort to me in seasons of loneliness. God never asks us to be content with less than we desire, if He doesn't want to satisfy our souls in a deeper more ultimately fulfilling way!

Trin said...

I've been thinking a lot of late about all the things I treasure - those things that alone have no real meaning neither positive or negative. But as I treasure them, I set them up as gods before God. The quest for God produces a real joy, not that imitation stuff offered by the frivolous things of the world :).

Ann Marie said...

Oh glory. Sounds like you've had an adventure to say the least! i find it so interesitng how God has wired His people to reach the world... you look at your current surroundings and long for the destitute, and I see those types of surroundings and my heart yearns for the hearts of the "owners of everything". Not that I don't yearn for the hearts of the destitute as well... I wonder how people that live lavishly cannot feel the same concern for those with less worldly value than they, but yet, somehow, the Lord directs my attention to those who are rich in material things, but not yet rich in spirit. amazing how God bends His children's hearts to cover all societies and classes of humanity.
Hey, maybe I should come visit your mansion this week so we can get caught up on life ;) ;)

Jaclyn said...

I am thrilled that there are people who feel "called" to the wealthy. I told my mom this a couple weeks ago, "Mom, maybe I should be a missionary to the rich-talk about stretching me!" (Since I am Miss-shop-at-the-dollar-store-and-goodwill-girl!) The rich need people dedicated to sharing the gospel with them just as much as the poor. They are all souls lost and in need of redemption! Then once those with wealth become Christians they can fund the missionaries who are serving the destitute! Sounds like a plan to me... ;-)

Jaclyn said...

You know what one of my prayers has been lately? "God, help me not desire Your good gifts over You. Teach me the balance between thankfulness FOR the good things You give and my dependence on them." At any time, all the things I hold dear could be gone... and am I steadfast enough to answer as Job did, "Blessed be the name of the Lord!" ?