As I write, my husband is in the other room ripping up carpeting. It was worn, stained, and dated. I’m excited to have my new hardwood flooring installed. I’ve wanted it for some time.
Before retiring, I worked as an elementary principal. I remember the day a student, a fifth- grade girl, found herself in my office for stealing from the school store. When asked why she took the trinket, her response was simple and honest. “I wanted it.”
Here’s something I discovered long ago. There’s no shortage of things to want. You only have to glance around you to see that. No matter what our situation, rich or poor, young or old, working or retired, we always reach for the next thing. We tend to live restless, unsatisfied lives. I’m not suggesting that it’s wrong to update your home or buy a new car. I’m talking about that restless nature that yearns for more.
Of course we’re restless. This is not our home. God tells us that we are exiles, aliens, sojourners. Sometimes we want to dispute that. This is all we know, so we cling to it.
How do we live as exiles?
- Breathe in the beauty and joy of God’s creation. Think about vacations. They’re joyful, memorable times. A time to see new things. To laugh with family and friends. They are not our home, but we immerse ourselves fully into the incredible sights and experiences. “Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad; let the sea resound, and all that is in it. Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them; let all of the trees of the forest sing for joy.” Psalm 96:11-12
- Know your purpose and live accordingly. We have kingdom work to do while we’re here on earth. Sometimes God’s call on our lives is very specific. You may know that you were meant to be a doctor, musician or teacher. There are also calls that are common to all Christians. The call to share the gospel. “Go into the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” Mark 16:15 The call to live in His image and love others. “And what does the Lord require of you but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 Live obediently. We don’t want to miss our purpose.
- Know what to grip tightly and what to hold loosely. Sometimes we get this backward. Sometimes we cling to our jobs, our homes, our bank accounts. Those are the things that God tells us moths and rust destroy. Matt. 6:19 Those are the treasures of earth. How tightly would you cling to something from a vacation? Something you can’t take when you return home? Enjoy those things, but don’t cling. Instead, store up treasures in heaven. Invest time and emotions into people, into the gospel, and into the King.
So, fellow sojourners, I am enjoying the journey. It’s nice vacationing with you. Hope to see you when we return to our final home.