I live in Hibbing, Minnesota – the town that moved. The entire town was picked up and moved between 1919 and 1921 to a location two miles south of where it had originally been set.
Why? Well, Hibbing is located on the Mesabi Iron Range. The north side of our city has the largest open-pit iron mine in the world. Hibbing at the time it was moved was actually a village still. This village of 20,000 people was sitting atop some very rich iron ore deposits, and this was impeding the mine’s progress.
That was nearly 100 years ago. I wonder what the people thought when they were told they were going to start over in a different location. Were they like Abraham and just picked up and moved without much question: The LORD said to Abram -Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father’s house to the land that I will show you…So Abram went (Gen. 15:1 & 4). I don’t for a moment want to make it sound like this was some epic journey comparable to Abraham’s. I won’t suggest God was asking the people of Hibbing to make great sacrifices and leave behind their family and friends. They were moving the town two miles…relationships were going to remain intact most likely. And many of these people had already left the land they had been raised in and their family and friends to come to America. Though big changes can cause some rifts, moving two miles was not going to be the same as saying good bye and just leaving for the rest of one’s life. No, I was just wondering about the day-to-day effect this kind of change had on households and individuals, and how they handled it.
There are times when I get so wrapped up in the little things triggered by a big change that I forget to keep my eyes on the reward waiting for me at the very end. I forget WHO I am doing it for.
So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18, HCSB)
The people of Hibbing were given compensation in ways we still enjoy today. Buildings were moved using steel wheels and logs. They moved more than 180 houses and 20 businesses to the permanent foundations most of them still rest on today, which cost about $16 million to do. Plus, the mining companies helped Hibbing rebuild by building the City Hall and high school. The high school alone cost them $3.9 million to build. Both are beautiful structures the people of Hibbing are quite proud of.
I find that my personal rewards come when I show great obedience and faith in the LORD’s sovereignty and love without expectations. That is when I feel His presence in me and all around me. That is when I wake and find my heart at peace even when there is a personal storm raging around me. God himself is THE reward. He told Abram in Genesis 15:1 – Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield; your reward will be very great. God lists Abraham among His faithful in Hebrews chapter 11. He was rewarded in other ways, but this reward most resonates with me. I want to be on God’s list of faithful followers. Yes, that is where I want to be. I want to see the unseen as my eternal power source, and I want to follow Him every step of the life He has given me. I want to serve with a good attitude, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that whatever good each does, slave or free, he will receive this back from the Lord. (Ephesians 6:7 & 8)
Lord God, I pray I can submit my attitude to You in all that I do, every day You give me. Please help me to be true to You. Take from me anything I might place between us so I can walk with You and serve You fully. Thank You for your victories over my sin and death. Thank You for your victories in my life, a life that belongs to You. You have all of my love. Amen.