In 1987, I returned from my missionary assignment in Europe and accepted a position as staff pastor at a church in Northern California.
Finding a place to live was first on my “to do” list. I remember driving up and down the streets near the church drooling over the beautiful old, custom built homes. My intense longing for one of those houses was almost like a physical hurt. After all those years, I just wanted to live like “real people.” My obsession with the idea of a home of my own made it almost impossible to settle for an apartment – another rental. I did, of course, and I lived in that apartment for eighteen happy years.
However, God does consider our desires. Our hopes and dreams are important to our Father, as long as they do not eclipse or negate our love for Him.
On August 25, 2009, twenty-two years after I cried over those beautiful homes, I finally signed the papers for a sweet little townhouse – my first home – all my own. It was brand new. I could do anything I wanted. It was my house, the bank’s and mine. I painted the walls milk chocolate brown and pinkish beige, and red and dark teal. I tore out the new carpet and laid hardwood. There were granite counters and a two car garage. I had died and gone to heaven.
BUT, (I know I’m not supposed to start a paragraph with that word. However, nothing else works here.) BUT, I realize that this house is a temporal treasure, and, now after only seven years there are cracks in the walls. There are cracks, because the builder built on an unsure foundation.
One day my dearly loved house will fall down or be demolished by some force. Or I will become REALLY old and be required to live elsewhere.
We used to sing:
“This world is not my home. I’m just passing through.
My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue.
The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door.
And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.
That’s what I must remember. THIS WORLD IS NOT MY HOME! I am a temporary resident just passing through. Jesus has gone away to prepare a place for me, where, one day, I will live eternally. In the meantime, I am a transient.
An acquaintance of mine, one of our dearly loved missionaries, was suddenly killed in an automobile accident on his way home from church. When his son went to make funeral arrangements, the funeral director showed him all the ornate, costly coffins, but, one by one, the son refused them all saying, “No! No! That’s not for my father.”
Finally, the director said, “All I have left are these simple pinewood boxes. We keep them here for transients.”
The son replied quickly, “That’s the one! That’s what my dad would want. He was a transient in this world on his way to a much better place.”
I fear sometimes that we, as believers, have become too comfortable in this world. We have become “earth dwellers” contented with our possessions and positions. Heaven is a far off fairytale, which may or may not happen someday, so we aren’t any too excited about going there.
My heart prompts me to say, “If you love Jesus, you ought to feel like a square peg in a round hole, a bit uncomfortable in this world.
Much of the problem stems from the fact that our treasures, those things we value are, for the most part, earthly treasures.
Matthew 6:19 – 21 cautions us, “Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it is safe…the place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be…” (“Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”)
I have some earthly treasures, beautiful little things I have picked up in my travels to far off places. I love looking at these things, holding and caressing them, remembering those happy times.
Knowing that I am a transient on this earth reminds me that I must hold my treasures lightly, for they in no way compare to the inheritance which awaits me in my home over there. Do you know you are included in Christ’s last will and testament?
According to 1 Peter 1:3 – 4, Christ has given us, “An inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven…”
Nothing can ruin this inheritance. It cannot be stained or cheapened in any way. It will never grow old or wear out. Nor, will it ever disappoint. It waits for me there.
In the meantime, THIS TRANSIENT will enjoy the sunrise either here or there.
THE SUN WILL COME OUT TOMORROW!!!