Temporary Residents

“By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.” Hebrews 11:8

Abraham did not always know where he was going, but he did know that wherever he happened to be, that it was not his permanent residence.

As a boy we lived along the railroad tracks just outside of Kerman. We used to have Hobos stop by to get some food. With no work and no prospects of jobs at home, many decided to travel for free via freight trains and try their luck elsewhere. These Hobos shifted from place to place – where ever they could find jobs. Where they were staying was not their permanent home. They were always looking for something better.

After listing the faith of Abraham and others, the Scripture says:

“All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth.  …But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland.”  Hebrews 11:13-16

I got to thinking about this as I put a quotation in our Weekly News a couple of weeks ago by Randy Alcorn: “What is the single greatest deterrent to generous giving? I believe the answer is the illusion or belief that this earth is our home.”

Like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we too are temporary residents here. This world is NOT our home. We are not illegal. We have green cards. But the danger is that we get too comfortable here – we think this is all there is to life.

Like the pilgrims, hobos and illegal aliens, we must remember that our home is in heaven. We know that where we currently live is not our real home.

If we are to live as temporary residents in this world how should this understanding affect us?

1. First it should affect our attitude – how we think.             It should affect how we think about this world and God’s country. It should affect our goals, our purpose in life. Being temporary residents should definitely affect our attitudes.

2. It may also affect how we integrate into society. The puritans/pilgrims of England moved to Holland for freedom. However they soon discovered they could not understand their children who were learning the Dutch language. That’s not an issue with us. However we must choose what aspects of the culture around us we absorb into our being. We need to be selective of features of the world’s culture we accept because we are involved in character development. We must choose what influences us.

3. Furthermore, we are more than just migrants. We are subversive agents of another kingdom. We are representatives of the government of heaven. As such we seek to advance His kingdom we make friends for that kingdom. Even our relationships have a higher purpose.

So don’t get too comfortable.

“I’m but a stranger here, Heaven is my home;
Earth is a desert drear, Heaven is my home.
Danger and sorrow stand Round me on every hand;
Heaven is my Fatherland, Heaven is my Home.”