Recently our congregation voted to sell our current facility for the yard sale price of $30,000. Surely a 24,000 s.f. building on an acre lot just off the square should be worth more than that! One would think so, but the science of economics can sometimes be hard to figure out.
Case in point—Hickory Hollow Mall in suburban Nashville, TN. Located in a booming area of Music City, Hickory Hollow Mall was the largest retail shopping center in the state for many years. It was built in 1978 and in 1998 it sold for $200 million. Businesses and residential complexes sprung up like mushrooms, seemingly overnight. But due to several unforeseen factors including a high crime rate, the area started to decline.
Car dealerships, restaurants, and retail establishments vanished as quickly as they appeared. Hickory Hollow Mall, a two story retail monstrosity of well over a million square feet soon sat empty. A few years ago, the mall and the 27 acres of land it sat on sold for $1,000,000. How could a huge mall on such a large tract of land near the interstate only twelve miles from the downtown district of booming city sell for pennies on the dollar? I’m not an economist, so I can’t say for sure. But what I can say is that the sale of Hickory Hollow Mall at a fire sale price certainly helps put things into perspective for us.
When you have a big problem, you’re tempted to be caught up with that problem. It dominates your mind. You start obsessing about it and thinking that it is the worst thing that you’ve ever had to deal with. I’m not saying the pending sale of our current facility is the worst thing I’ve ever encountered. But I am saying that there are plenty of things in life that can stress us out—financial matters, health issues, and relational problems to mention a few. But what should we do when stressful situations threaten to undo us? We should do what the Bible encourages us to do—put our problems into perspective with God. There’s no denying that our problems are significant, but we should put them in perspective by comparing them to our God.
In the book of 1 Peter, we see the apostle talking to Christians under duress, and he says, “The first thing that we need to do together is praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” In other words, Peter is saying that it’s always time to give praise to God. There’s never a time when a Christian can’t give praise to God, even when in deep distress.