In Don Miller’s book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, which I reviewed here, he begins with the story of a movie. He wonders how the reader would feel about going to a movie in which the protagonist’s goal throughout the movie was to buy a Volvo. The movie follows this character’s hard work and then ends with him driving out of the Volvo dealership having achieved his goal of purchasing this nice new car. He asks what we would think of that sort of story. Would it grip us? Would we cry? Likely not. No matter how much the main character sacrificed for his Volvo, it just wouldn’t be a good movie because the goal was so lame.
He argues that many of our lives parallel this sort of lame movie plot line. We frequently live our lives for the cool stuff we can get. But just as this makes for a bad movie, it makes for a bad life as well. A good life story is one with a mission. In a good life story, we sacrifice for something that is worthy of our greatest efforts. In a good life story our purpose isn’t just a nicer car.
It also shouldn’t be simply a nicer house. As Mary and I continue to look at houses, we’ve had to repeatedly keep our mission for buying a house in mind. Why are we buying this house? Here are some of the main mission purposes of our house:
- We would like to have more people living with us. Whether that is more kids, out-of-town guests, renters, or someone who is in a financially difficult spot who needs a roof over their head, we want our house to be a place where we can have other people live with us.
- We want to be able to host people. We want to continue to have people over for small groups, parties, and other events.
- We want our house to be a place where our family life can thrive.
When we make decisions about layout, carpet quality, kitchen countertop, etc. we measure the money we are putting into the house based on how much it will help us achieve our mission. When we look at different flooring options or countertop samples, we can ask, “How nice does this thing have to be to help us achieve our mission?” So far it’s been a helpful guideline. It’s given us direction to our decisions, and it has helped us feel like there is a purpose behind this huge amount of money we may potentially be spending on a house.