“This World is Not My Home” (Or Is It?)
Perhaps you recognize this line from an old gospel hymn. Allow me to finish the thought: “This world is not my home. I’m just passing through. My treasures are laid up, somewhere beyond the blue.”
The bible supports the notion of storing up treasures in heaven, and warns us about becoming too attached to the world. These two directives came together in Jesus encounter with a rich young ruler (Luke 18:22). Jesus challenged him to sell his possessions, give the money to the poor, and follow Him. He promised, “You will have treasure in heaven.” But the young ruler became very sad and walked away because he had many possessions.
We are additionally warned to avoid sins that result from an unhealthy engagement in worldly pursuits. “Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul” (1 Peter 2:11 NIV) In light of these clear and concise truths, you might think I am insane, or at the very lease spiritually misguided to suggest this world might indeed be our home. How could I possibly consider such a proposal?
First, rest assured I believe in life after death, and the temporal nature of things. If you know me, you know I put very little confidence in possessions, but rest my soul in the Lord Jesus, my “everything.”
The issue is whether we view the word “world” as a place or a system. My wife and I have been participating in a capital campaign for church structures since our congregation lost its building to a fire in 1999. Our last commitment represented the largest single gift we have ever made, and could have been used to purchase a new family sedan. But we invested it in a building that we will never own, on a physical piece of ground which will eventually be burned up or refashioned (depending on your view of events at the end of time). So the material structure we have given to is a part of this world, but we are giving to help our church family accomplish a spiritual mission from heaven. Without our heavenly vision the building is just a place, but when it is dedicated to the kingdom it becomes a kingdom asset.
I believe we can distinguish many things in our lives this way. Our houses are a place to live, but they can also become a beacon of Christian hospitality. Our workplaces can be money mills to line our pockets, or they can be a mission field where we become salt and light to those who are weary.
My point is that the world is not our home if we are referring to a self-absorbed system of personal pursuit. Yet, it can be our home-base if we are talking about our calling as citizens of a greater kingdom. Another way of saying this is, “since we are kingdom people, we are always at home when Christ rules in our hearts.” When we frame things this way, nature itself because heavenly because it draws us into the presence of the Lord and declares His glory (Psalm 19:1).
I am definitely waiting for the appearance of Christ, and some days I search the sky with a great longing. I know I take nothing with me when I die, and I am also aware I can unwittingly worship what has been created and lose sight of my Creator.
Still, as a believer I cannot afford to detach myself from my world. What good is salt and light if it they never come into contact with decay and darkness? Ok, I will say, this world is not my home. But it is my mission, and I am not just passing through. I have been put here for a purpose, and every time I allow myself to be used by God, I am doing kingdom work. Dear God, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).