My curiosity was aroused -- as I logged on to the Internet I noticed an aerial view of a gigantic mansion -- I looked at the small photo and a caption indicating that this one was up for sale at a mere 50 million dollars -- that's right, not 50 or 500 g's, but 50 MILLION! How much house does a family really need anyhow?
So later I decided to surf the real estate market and there was a site where I could enter an amount of 1 million or more dollars and the location where I was interested in settling down after purchase of my mansion. I discovered that one of the biggest selections was in California -- that is, if you want to get into something costing 10 million or more! There are other places that have a few in that price range, but there's a bunch in the state that has spawned all kinds of things which have not been of benefit to us morally or spiritually through the latter decades of the 20th century.
$11.5 million -- 5 bedrooms -- 11.5 baths
The features of these houses are fascinating. You have things like tennis courts, heated swimming pools in convoluted shapes, massive garages for limos and sports cars, stables for horses, projection rooms for showing films, guards on site, etc. One had fireplaces in the master bed room, living room, dining room, and family room! And there are the guest houses which are separate from the "big" house.
Now it can be a temptation to be a bit envious and start down the confused thinking trail as one looks at what are considered houses at the top of the luxury class in the United States. As one proceeds on that dead end trail one can begin to imagine what it must be like to live in a place where about every time you turn a corner there is a bathroom, or if the day is cool and the butler started a fire in the fireplace, you don't have to worry about leaving it because he started fires in a number of other rooms in the place including the master bedroom! This makes it nice as you drop off to dreamland as your last awake moment involved watching the flames dancing over the logs. Ah, what a life! And when you awaken in the morning you jump in the heated pool for a swim, eat what amounts to a big spread buffet breakfast served on an enclosed balcony overlooking the ocean!
Ferrari Enzo - priced at over $600,000!
That is, as of October 2003
After that you decide to go for a drive -- oh, oh -- one slight problem -- what luxury sports car are you going to choose out of 10 different ones parked in the monstrous garage which is larger than the homes of a lot of American citizens. Yes, you could have your chauffeur drive you, but this time you are itching to get your hands on that one you recently bought for over a half million dollars -- actually, over a $100,000 beyond the half million! Surprise! Among the "poor" people, a lot don't realize you can pour that much money into a piece of metal, 4 wheels and an engine! Well, it's the one which has a name you haven't learned to pronounce yet -- oh, well, you just say it begins with the letter "F!"
$15 million -- 4 bedrooms -- 5 baths
In the Christian faith there is a guarantee given by Jesus Christ that involves our future dwelling place after our journey on earth is over. There is a difference in translation of Jesus' statement about the future residence of His followers as mentioned in John 14. Some use the word "mansions" and others say "rooms" in reference to the Father's "house" and the fact that Jesus said He was going to prepare a place for us.
One thing for sure -- whatever that place looks like, it will make the multi million dollar mansions designed and built by humans on earth look like shoddy, dilapidated shacks by way of comparison! God never does anything half way or try to cut corners in His projects!
$18.9 million -- 7 bedrooms -- 9.9 baths
But the main contrast is not so much in appearance as such, but in other areas. Consider some contrasts that provide evidence of the great superiority of the future residence of the faithful follower of Jesus Christ.
Mansions on earth are taxed and owners cough up a nice hunk of cash each year in meeting property tax obligations. How about this -- our residence in Christ's eternal Kingdom is completely tax free -- no tax assessor coming around every once in a while taking pictures -- no more anxiety as to how hard they will hammer you with taxes the next time around!
Mansions on earth must be maintained. Personnel are employed to do cleaning, painting, repairing, replacements, landscaping, flower and shrub care, lawn care, etc. This makes for another nice tab racked up in a year's time in expenses for the beautifying of the house! You probably have the idea that such concerns are non existent at the future residence prepared by the Lord Jesus Christ for His people, do you not?
Mansions on earth have to have a staff to take care of food shopping, preparation of same, and serving it to the owner/s. Hey, if I own a multi million dollar house, you don't expect me to run down to Wal Mart's grocery lay out, buy some of their stuff, bring it home, and cook it, do you? Ah, no cost whatsoever for those delicacies such as the fruit from the tree of life at our future residence in Christ's Kingdom!
Mansions on earth have employed chauffeurs and luxury limousines to transport owners around here and there. Sometimes private aircraft and/or helicopters are also owned and pilots contracted to fly them. No expense related to transportation on the other side for followers of Jesus Christ -- He defied the law of gravity and ascended from the surface of this planet to return to His heavenly Father -- so who's worried about how we're going to get around? I repeat, and don't forget -- no travel expense whatsoever once we begin occupying that residence Jesus is preparing for His people!
Mansions on earth have heavy utility expense. There are lots of lights, communication systems, and the heat bill -- ugh! Well guess what? On the other side there is no utility expense either. Specifically there is mention made about the light situation -- there is no night there -- and no need for the sun -- God Himself is the source of light we are told!
Mansions on earth usually have lots of security to insure the safety and well being of the owner/s. This can involve mechanically operated gates, fences, alarm systems, guard stations, and surveillance cameras. Again, we're talking a bunch of bucks, but if you own a multi million dollar house, it's worth a small fortune to make sure it's protected and as safe as possible for the occupants, right? No security problems of any kind in that residence on the other side where Jesus is completely in charge and in full control -- we're informed in the book of Revelation that God will be with His people and be their God. In addition to this, evil of every kind -- human, demonic, and Satanic will be non existent in that place! This is because God plans a permanent separation. The crowd that presently threatens us from time to time here on earth will be consigned to its proper place forever! The book of Revelation spells out all the details with assurance of the security God's people will have in their new place of residence.
Mansions on earth all have one main thing in common -- they always face the real possibility of disaster -- the kind that the wealth of the owner/s cannot prevent once it begins to happen! These are natural disasters such as earthquakes, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, or tsunamis if one is located by the ocean side! And then you never know when a Boeing 747 may drop out of the sky and demolish your multi million dollar house, and in the process launch you into eternity! There is also that horrible scourge known as war and with button pushing becoming the rage these days, your fancy house could be sitting at ground zero when a missile comes sailing in from out of the deep blue yonder! You know, do you not, that no Las Vegas gaming place will place bets on the chances that you will survive in the midst of the ashes of what once was a spectacular mansion? By now you should be getting a bit of a picture as to how vastly different it is in that future residence in Christ's Kingdom, with no threats of any kind of possible disaster, ever!
$31 million -- 8 bedrooms -- 13 baths
There is one final thing about mansions on earth but in this case you really have to use your imagination because this would be an extreme thing if ever it happened, and we can safely assume it would never happen. But suppose it really did happen to you -- the owner of one of those mansions with a value of 15 million or more -- maybe 25 or 30 even -- takes a real liking to you. And he really drops a bomb -- he says he wants to share all he has with you, including the fancy house and all its amenities, right down the middle, 50-50!
If it did happen, and after you came back down to earth from cloud #9, and as reality began to set in, you would be faced with all the preceding "burdens" mentioned as you attempted to help your "co-owner" keep your mansion "afloat!" Also, since the owner has decided to share everything with you on a 50-50, you now share his burden of finances! There are all those investments to worry about and company profits (you are now co-owner of a number of companies that the original owner obtained due to his reputation as a "corporate raider!"), and the loopholes to look for so the tax burden won't be quite so heavy (keep in mind the Democrats want to keep socking it to you because you have too much wealth, so forget about a tax cut!). And then the stock market takes a nose dive and you find yourself lying awake all night long -- what if it keeps getting worse -- what if the owner says he can't afford this arrangement any more, and you're tossed out on the street (the street happens to be 5 miles away as you leave the fancy house via its perfectly paved tree lined private drive!).
Advertised as a "Beach House" at $75 million!
It's just a short walk to the ocean --
remember those hurricanes and tsunamis!!!
Romans 5 through 8 reminds us that upon genuine repentance of our sins, seeking God's mercy and forgiveness, receiving Jesus Christ into our lives by faith as our personal Savior and Lord, and committing ourselves to a life of obedience in service to Him, we are identified as heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ! The human mind in its feeble limitations simply cannot take in all the implications of such statements. One thing for sure -- whatever Jesus possesses, obedient followers of Him share in it! Further, in His faithfulness and love, He will never change His mind toward us and toss us out on the street!
CONCLUSION -- Now then -- after seeing some impressive structures paraded about as "mansions" with price tags involving millions of dollars, but then also considering some excessive 'baggage" that goes along with these elaborate houses, and noting the sharp contrast of the future residence promised to those who obediently follow and serve Jesus Christ, are you more content than ever to let the wealthy folk have their mansions here on earth? And will you seek, with the Holy Spirit helping, to wisely invest your various abilities, your limited material resources, and your remaining time in efforts to advance the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ as you look forward with excited anticipation to occupying a residence that will make the multi million dollar "mansions' of earth look like shoddy, dilapidated shacks by comparison? Are you able to answer without hesitation with a strong affirmative, "Yes!"?
References to whet the appetite....
- John 14:1-3
- Romans 8:16-18
- Colossians 3:1-4
- 1 John 3:1-3
- Revelation 21,22
by Clayton D. Harriger
Retired Elder in Full Connection
Western Pennsylvania Annual Conference
The United Methodist Church
and presently pastor of Gipsy Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)
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