I recently heard a sermon where the speaker spoke in a negative way about people who live in gated communities. That sermon motivated me to write this article, as I want to point out some things about gated communities, why people desire to live within the confines of a gated community, and why ultimately we all should want to live in a gated community. However, before I expound on the gated community statement, I want to share what I believe is an over-arching issue, that causes statements such as these to be made, and the impact they have on a church congregation.
The picture that is painted is that these un-named individuals think they are “better” than everyone else. so they are scrutinized and criticized because they have been prosperous. Unfortunately, what this does more often than not is cause those who may not be as prosperous to have “distorted thinking” about those who may have more, causing them to view these individuals in a wrong light. Distorted thinking is when you think things about an individual based on what someone else has caused you to believe, and not based on your own personal interactions with those individuals.
The “gated community” statement is really systemic of a larger issue. This is a pretty typical but sad thing that happens in many congregations, where a Pastor/Preacher has an issue with someone in the congregation who may have acquired wealth, or a certain degree of success. They insert statements in their sermon that have nothing to do with the Word of God, but are designed to place focus on certain individuals in a negative way. I’m sure you’ve heard a many sermons where a pastor/preacher talks about the people who have the fancy cars, a big house on the hill, college education, etc. Sprinkled into the sermon are also statements such as “when you see people who ….…”, which causes some to look around to see if they can identify those individuals within the congregation.
The men/women of God who deliver such messages may not realize it, but they are actually sowing discord among the brethren, causing division in the body, and causing the saints to be judgmental in a wrong kind of way. Usually when this happens in congregations the speaker normally has specific people in the congregation in mind, and there are others in the congregation who also know exactly who they are talking about. You may ask, how do I know this happens? Well I know because we have been in the church continuously (never left) for over 60 years, and have been the target of many such sermons.
It’s really a shame that this occurs, particularly in the church from people who claim to have been called by God to deliver HIS message to HIS people. In spite of all the encouragement and opportunity that is given to people to make something of themselves, and to utilize God given talents, gifts, and abilities, when it actually happens for some, there are those who seem to have an issue with them for succeeding and achieving .
I know these people are not speaking for God because they are making statements that are contrary to His written word. The real problem is not the ones who have succeeded, but the ones who have an issue with others achieving more than themselves. They might have an “inferiority complex”, or are struggling with envy or jealousy. It shouldn’t be an issue, for we all should know that God has told us in His word, that HE is the one that gives man the ability to acquire wealth and to become prosperous, and has provided in His word the prescription to be blessed. Take a look at these scriptures as this is what God has said:
“But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.
Psalm 1: 1-3
1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
3 And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.
7 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.
8 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
For the past 26 years we have lived in a gated community, which we have thoroughly enjoyed. These communities require a special access code for entry, and if you don’t know the code you can’t get in. Typically there are higher end homes, often have private security patrolling the community, video recording of all who enter and exit, and are normally located in some of the most desirable and prestigious areas. The homes typically have a higher price tag because of the location, and as many know, real estate value is really dependent on location, location, location.
Many believe that those who live in gated communities, are snobbish, think they’re better than others, etc. However, this thinking is normally created in their mind by someone who doesn’t live in a gated community, and for all the reasons I mentioned above. If you actually got to know some who live in those communities up close and personal, you will find that’s not what they think at all. They’ve just been fortunate enough in life to afford that type of living.
We chose to move to these communities because the homes we desired happened to be located in gated communities. Yes it is nice to have all of the amenities mentioned above, but it certainly doesn’t make us think we’re better than others. Just like anybody else, we looked for places to live that we felt we could enjoy and would be conducive in raising our family to be well-rounded, and able to engage with anyone in this world. We also wanted them to be color-blind, and experience that the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. It all belongs to HIM, and as his children, we can go and live anyplace in HIS world. We are entitled.
We enjoy our gated community and all the surroundings. I like the fact that the roads are paved and maintained, there is someone watching out for our well-being, the homes and properties are well maintained.
The more I think about gated communities it makes me think about Heaven. In fact, those of us who profess to be Christians, we should desire and look forward to living in a gated community. Why? If you want to go to Heaven, you will be living forever in a gated community. Heaven is the ultimate gated community. In fact, it has more gates than any gated community I know. My Bible tells me that Heaven has twelve gates. As John the revelator said in Revelations 21:
“And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:
13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates:
Oh, and by the way, it has paved roads that are made out of gold.
Wouldn’t you like to live in this gated community, forever? Well you can, but you will need to know the Access Code.
To get in you have to know Jesus, up close and personal.