The Claffy House
Years ago, I was on the road quite a bit traveling around northern Minnesota for my job. My mom gave me an audiobook on cassette tapes, “Front Porch Tales” by Philip Gulley. When I started out one morning for a drive from Duluth to Thief River Falls I popped in the first cassette and was hooked. Gulley is a Quaker pastor and a master story teller. If you ever run across one of his books, buy it and read it. Unless it is one of his nonfiction books. Avoid those at all costs. His story telling is superb; his theology is atrocious.
In one of his stories, the main character talks about the joy of living in a small town and moving into a “named house.” A “named house” is one that retains the name of its original, long-time residents even after they are gone. For instance, Mr. and Mrs. Smith live in their home just off the town square for 50 years, filling their house with six kids, three dogs, and a whole lot of grandkids. Eventually, the Smiths pass away and their home is sold, but in that small town, the house will always be known as the “Smith House.”
Ever since listening to Gulley spin his story about a named house, one of my dreams has been to live in one. Last fall, that dream came true. My wife and kids and I moved into the Claffy House. Herb and Joyce Claffy built a house in Milaca and raised their kids there. They were in that home something like 50 years, give or take a year or two. I never knew them, but many people in our small town did, and based on what I hear, they were very much loved. And I cannot tell you how many times I have described to somebody where I live and they say, “Oh, you live in the Claffy house!” Fills my heart with joy every time I hear that.
It is an honor beyond words to live in the house they built, maintained so well, and filled with love for so many years. This may sound funny, but even though I never knew the Claffy’s, I want to honor them by caring for their home and doing my part to make sure it continues to be filled with love and precious memories. And in case you are wondering, my family and I are well on the way to doing that.
But as much as I love the Claffy House, there is an even better house that bears a name and will forever. I love that house, too. The Apostle Peter says to those who are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ – As you come to him [the Lord], a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:4-5).
Just think of that. Those of us who trust Jesus as our Savior are living stones and together we make a spiritual house. And the Apostle Paul says in 1 Corinthians 3:16 – Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? The “you” in this verse is plural. “You,” the church, are together the temple of God. We have the living God in us! He chooses to dwell here in this world in us! And more than that, he names us.
Speaking of his people (and on this side of the cross we know “his people” to be all those in Christ Jesus), God says through the prophet Isaiah – You shall no more be termed Forsaken, and your land shall no more be termed Desolate, but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her, and your land Married; for the Lord delights in you (Isaiah 62:4).
The only reason the Claffy House is remembered is because the people who lived there for so many years are memorable. God’s house is the same – it is memorable because of who dwells there. God himself dwells there. I believe in Jesus Christ and I am a living stone, a stone that makes up part of God’s house. But I am just a stone. In 150 years, nobody will remember my name. But I will for all of eternity be a part of God’s temple, and his name will be remembered forever. And because his name will be remembered forever, the name of his home will be remembered forever – “My Delight Is in Her.” A God who delights in his people. Amazing.
I do not hesitate at all delighting in my home, the “Claffy House,” because God delights in his home, the “My Delight Is in Her” house. I hope the Claffy House never becomes the Bolt House. Not because I don’t want to live there a long, long time – I do. But because having a house named after you is an honor I don’t ever want to take from the Claffy’s. I am perfectly content telling people I live in the Claffy house. And I am so thankful I can tell people I live in the “My Delight Is in Her” house, too.
Where do you live?