After a very good friend asked me to help her find an apartment, I made a few phone calls. I have heard about the increasing cost to rent and the Fed’s increase in interest rates. Last year when we needed to rent an apartment, between houses, I experienced a bit of sticker shock, myself. In 1998, I rented a 2 bed 2 bath (new construction) apartment in Rock Hill, SC for $575/month. I called that place to ask about current rates for a 2 bed 2 bath and found the rent to now be “$1460/month and it includes water and washer/dryer connections.” I was a bit surprised and also troubled. When I lived there, it was my first year of teaching and my take home pay was less than $1460/month. Fortunately, by the grace of God, my parents had purchased my car, I didn’t have any student loans and I didn’t have any children, so I was able to make it work.
Last year we rented a 2 bed 2 bath apartment at a rate of $1260/month. I called the complex last week to inquire about current rates for 2 bed 2 bath units. “1791/month and it includes stainless steel appliances and a washer and dryer.” Frankly, if that price tag doesn't include 5 acres of land and that payment that leads to ownership in 20 years, I don’t want it! Unbelievable. I do Bible study at a women’s shelter each week and the ladies keep me abreast of rental rates as they are all in need of a permanent place to live.
Last year, when we listed our house for sale, I didn’t agree with the price calculated by my realtor. I didn’t want to be the first home in the neighborhood to cross a certain price point. Of course, the extra money would be awesome, but to me it would set a precedent and the next house to list would list for $5000 more and the next would list for $5000 more than that, and so on. I think home ownership is a privilege and I think every family should, at some point, own a home. I purchased my first home after living in an apartment for 7 months, just before my first year of teaching was complete. I want all young teachers and young professionals to be able to afford such a necessity. I prayed about a list price and also expressed to the Lord that our move was not accompanied by any increase in income (which He already knew). He knew we needed to make an “even exchange” that gave us more land area and potentially less square-footage. Sometimes, I don’t know if the Lord is answering my prayers or if I am praying and arriving at answers myself - maybe you wonder the same! I arrived at an asking price, our house went under contract then we wrote 6 contracts for homes to purchase, and none were accepted. We moved to an apartment, and just a few days later a house listed at the same price as our previous home…I prayed about it, I looked at it, liked it, prayed about it and wrote a contract. The realtor suggested I offer more than asking, which I prayed about and increased my offer, we are living in that house now! Did you catch the part about it being listed at the same price as our list price - that was a definite answer to prayer!
I don’t know what it’s worth now, but the couple who bought our old house has moved out of it already. They sold it for nearly $100,000 more than they bought it in 2021. I am not ready to leave my answer to prayer!
What’s causing this “housing crisis?” My mind goes to the Scripture that states, ”For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” This phrase is only a part of 1 Timothy 6:10, however, and this chapter contains a whole segment about seeking financial gain. 1 Timothy is one of Paul’s two letters to Timothy, a young pastor working in the church at Ephesus. It is sound advice for church leadership, but is also applicable to our everyday walk with Jesus.
Godliness with contentment is great gain. We must get our wants under control. There are all kinds of things this world has to offer, but not all of it is good for us. It’s common to desire something to the point that our minds can make the item seem like a need. Desiring to be like Jesus should be our greatest desire. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. Have you ever helped to clean out the home of someone after they have died? I haven’t done this, specifically, but I have been to a few estate sales. We die and leave a lifetime of accumulated clothes, shoes, hobby items, books, then there are furnishings, electronics, cars, etc. Everything is left behind. Jesus said in Matthew 16:26 “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” Our soul is what matters, not all of the stuff we see on Amazon. None of it will go when we go. What we need to focus on is our relationship with Christ.
Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10For 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 Loving money is a trap. Money is like stuff. It can be helpful in many ways, but it is not the key to heaven. It does not lead to happiness or joy or peace. Loving money can take our eyes off serving God, and make us servants to ourselves. To me there’s something morally corrupt about a landlord who would raise his tenant's rent to the degree the tenant cannot afford it. It’s greedy to set rent prices so high that your tenant cannot possibly pay the rent and save up to be able to afford a mortgage one day. It’s evil to ask so much in rent that few can afford it and every week on the news you see, just like everyone else sees reports about the housing crisis and more and more homeless families.
To those seeking a place to live, pray. Your Heavenly Father knows your need. He will provide for you, in His time. And when He does, let it be a testimony that you share with others, how He provided. Take care of your new home. I used to tell my children “cleanliness is Godliness,” as if it were a Scripture. It’s not, but one way to show our gratitude to God is by taking care of that which He provides. When you move, clean up so that the landlord doesn’t incur any cleaning fees he will then feel justified to pass on to the next tenant. When God provides for you, do your part to continue the flow of blessings. Amen.