Let home extend well beyond the property line.

When we think of home, our definition is contextual. It depends on where we are and what we are doing. As we sit on our couch and settle in for a Notre Dame football game, home means that couch and that TV. Home for me is Wendy and I with our kids. As we go to our respective workplaces and schools, home becomes Lusher Ave. or Rivercreek or Bridlewood. It becomes our neighborhoods and our neighbors. As we travel to play a rival team, home becomes Elkhart, Northwood, Goshen, Northridge, Jimtown or Concord. It becomes our respective cities.

And when we travel farther — as we go abroad to study, or travel to the coasts for work, home broadens even more. Home spans from Walnut Hill Early Childhood Center to Luchesses; from the remodeled Goshen Theatre to the new event center in Nappanee; from the ever-expanding Environmental Center to the new home of the Samaritan Health and Living Center. It encompasses the whole of Elkhart County.

Home, in this way, extends well beyond the property line.

But just as my neighbor’s property affects the value of mine, property lines aren’t property walls. We are interdependent on one another, and what benefits my neighbor’s home will, in turn, benefit my own. The same is true not just between neighbors, but in a broader scope as well. Between blocks. Between neighborhoods. Between towns.

Home, in this way, extends well beyond the property line.

It’s a fact that is worth accepting, even embracing.

We’ve come together this year to do remarkable good. We’ve impacted our community in countless ways. I’m humbled by it, truly. We’ve set to work on this home of ours, and we’ve built for it the strongest of foundations, a foundation of rock.

I’m reminded of the parable of two builders from the Gospel of Matthew. A foolish man builds his house on sand. At the first heavy rain, it is washed away. He hadn’t listened to the wise men before him. He hadn’t taken care of home. A wise man, though, heeds the Lord’s word, the best practices of history, and builds upon a sturdy foundation. He saw an entirely different fate.

“And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.”

That wise builder took care of home. We aspire to be a wise builder. No matter what comes our way in Elkhart County; no matter the waxing and waning of the economy; no matter the unforeseen issues ahead of us, we desire to build our home, Elkhart County, on a solid foundation.

But a foundation isn’t complete. A foundation isn’t vibrant. It’s just a start. Let’s work together over the next year. Let’s erase artificial divisions based on property lines, school districts, and political boundaries.

Let’s do some home improvement. Together.

Let’s let home, in this way, extend beyond the property line.