Margins Matter

Jon Burgess


1“When you divide the land among the tribes of Israel, you must set aside a section for theLordas his holy portion. This piece of land will be 81/3miles long and 62/3miles wide.The entire area will be holy.2A section of this land, measuring 875 feet by 875 feetwide is to be left empty all around it." Ezekiel 45:1-2


God was walking his prophet through all the plans for his people, all the details of the temple and directions for the future. They were a Holy people serving a holy God and were set apart unto His purposes. In the middle of all these details God tells them to set apart from empty space. No buildings, no business, no bargains- just open land to remind them to be open to Him leading up to the Temple. Holiness was not just what was in the temple but what was around the temple. Holy Ground was empty ground unencumbered and uncluttered by the business of life and even religious decor.


Upon encouragement from a friend I was encouraged to visit Camp Harlow here in Eugene, Oregon. He told me to visit the Garden of Commitment. Mulitple acres of camp land spread before me for kids to run and climb and play. There was only one place fenced off. This space was reserved and set apart for celebrating the Kids who had come to Christ over the past 50 years. Metal leaves hung from metal trees with names etched into each leaf served as a permanent reminder of what God had done. This was Holy Ground. I felt like I needed to take off my shoes. It was a permanent reminder that margins matter. For all the swimming pools and cabins, zip lines and plank bridges the camp had set a margin for what matters most. That there would be a permanent reminder that this camp exists for primary purpose of salvation for the next generation. Then I kept strolling through the garden and saw empty trees with placards marking future years. 2018, 2020, 2022 and so on. It was at this point that I began to weep as I saw a physical manifestation of the importance of margins. Don't ever let the main thing get crowded out by busyness or false markers of success. This was the true measure of success for this camp and as it turns out for my life as well.


Lord, forgive me for a lack of margins that have crowded out a heart for the harvest. It doesn't matter how well I'm doing at everything else if I have lost sight of the souls You have died for. Life is getting really crowded with many things that matter, but there must be open space for that which matters most. Keep breaking my heart for the things that break yours. Let me continue to walk through the garden of possibility dreaming up new and effective ways to reach those who do not yet know You.

Devotions for September 18

Ezekiel 45,46
Luke 1

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