Chip and Joanna Gaines––No Shelf Life

By Michelle Wallace

Recently I was in a meeting with a developer who is collaborating on a project with the Gaines. In case you’ve been living under a rock and aren’t familiar with America’s favorite couple, they have one of the hottest shows on TV called Fixer Upper.

The show involves taking older, outdated homes and remodeling them for various clients. The transformations are amazing but it’s Joanna’s sweet disposition and Chip’s goofy demeanor that endear people to the show. Another thing I believe attracts people is the couple’s love for one another and their four children.

It’s refreshing to see the simplicity of their life on a farm in Waco, Texas, as well as the love they have for their hometown. Joanna shares her testimony in a short online video of the day she heard the Lord tell her to close their first little home decor store to be a stay-at-home mom. She recalls how God spoke to her heart; if she followed His direction, He would take her dreams farther than she could imagine. Today their brand includes a massive home decor store, called Magnolia Home in the Silos, where you can shop, eat, play games and enjoy a concert on the lawn. They have a furniture line, there’s huge online retail, and more––just to name a few.

The developer said the recent launch of their paint line was wise. “Joanna’s a smart woman,” he said, “she knows she has a shelf life.” The words hit me like a ton of bricks! I completely understood what he was saying, but I couldn’t even respond. So many emotions flooded me, and scriptures, one after the other, began turning over in my head. Shelf life? Does Billy Graham have a shelf life?

That may seem like a strange comparison of America’s favorite pastor and evangelist to America’s favorite TV home remodeling couple, but it’s not. The two are very vocal about their faith in public. But those who watch the show might never know they’re believers; it’s just not brought up. They simply and quietly live it out. The words commonly attributed to Francis of Assisi come to mind, “Preach Jesus, and if necessary use words.”

The developer was thinking of the shelf life of the brand. The truth is, number one TV shows don’t last forever. Home designs and furniture styles change. But the things they are sowing are eternal.

There is a fullness to the gospel that gets missed. Ephesian 2: 8,9 tells us it is by grace we have been saved through faith, and this not from ourselves; it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast. In other words, there is this great exchange. Jesus paid the penalty for our sin. We just accept that as a free gift, nothing we can do to earn it. But it’s more than an address change from hell to heaven. He also paid for us to experience life in Him that is full and overflowing. This is the life that the Gaines have on display. Ephesians 2 verse 10 goes on to say we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance as our way of life. We don’t separate one vocation, like evangelist, from another or one day of the week, and call it holy. All of life should be sacred or set apart, full of peace and joy and prosperity that comes as part of being a son or a daughter.

The Gaines have a marketplace ministry that advances the kingdom of heaven. And their treasures are stored there. They’re eternal. Jesus said, it is to the Father’s glory that we bear much fruit. When I look at the lives of people they’ve touched and changed by doing what God created them to do, I’m in awe.

I have been helping some people clean out their home to go into a small assisted living apartment. There is 50 years of stuff, bordering on something of a hoard. The process has left me sad. It’s a testament to the fact that it all goes back in the box. Please don’t misunderstand me, there’s nothing wrong with stuff. Again, the Gaines business revolves around all of that. But so many people live such small and defeated lives because they work hard to acquire so much stuff and miss real and lasting life that comes from loving well.

Jesus said, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

His command is not hard or a burden…it’s love. Love God and love each other as He loves you! That’s what attracts people to the Gaines and there’s no shelf life on that!

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