Habitat is “Practical Religion”
by Millard Fuller, Habitat Founder
As found in “Habitat World” magazine:
What is the essence of Habitat for Humanity? What is it about Habitat that has caused the ministry to spread around the world so rapidly since its work began in 1976? Why have the concepts of house and community building resonated in the hearts of so many people?
We believe the essence of Habitat for Humanity lies at the very heart of God. The core principles and practices of Habitat flow from the life and teachings of Jesus.
We read throughout the pages of the Bible that we should love God and our neighbors, especially our neighbors in need. We read specifically in the 25th chapter of Matthew that we should “invite strangers in.” We are admonished to “let our light shine” and to be “salt” in the world. In other words, the expression of our religious faith should make a difference.
“Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” – 1 Peter 4:9-10
This scripture from 1 Peter clearly says that we should “be hospitable to one another” and to “minister” to one another with whatever gifts we have received from God. Habitat for Humanity gives people an opportunity to put spiritual principles into practice in a very practical way.
It must be obvious to most people that decent housing is essential for any family. Children flourish if they are in a loving environment and have a good place to live. A house is to a family what soil is to a plant. It is a place to be rooted. A house is, literally, the foundation stone on which human development occurs.
People also know from personal experience what having an adequate place in which to live means to them and their family.
Habitat for Humanity’s program enables people, churches, companies and other groups to come together to build houses.
This work is very much “hands on” and grassroots. Volunteers from all walks of life work alongside soon-to-be Habitat homeowners to build houses. Friendships develop. Bonding takes place. Emotional attachments emerge. Understanding results. Tears flow. Hearts are touched. God’s love is made visible.
A house is finished. A family moves in amidst great rejoicing. Payments are made on a no-profit, no-interest mortgage. House payments go into a revolving fund to build more houses. A tithe raised locally helps build houses in another country. Habitat’s whole approach is holistic, idealistic and realistic. It brings people together and directs them to God and to God’s love.
The idea makes sense. It is practical religion and people can’t wait to do it again. This is the essence of Habitat for Humanity.