It can be great fun to travel for a holiday, especially when that travel takes us to new places. Sometimes even the journey can be part of the adventure rather than just a means of getting there. If you have been fortunate to travel abroad you may have enjoyed tasting new cuisine, experiencing different cultures and exploring new scenery. Holidays usually seem too short and we may fantasize about them lasting longer. However in reality we are just passing through and it is always good to get back home, sleep in our own bed and enjoy being back among people we know and love.
Some years ago there was a popular gospel song that had the line: ‘This world is not my home I’m just a-passin’ through’. The song writer was expressing the hope that after this life is over, we have an eternity with Christ to look forward to. Whether we live to 80, 90 or 100, compared to eternity this present lifetime, like a holiday, it is all too brief.
In 2 Corinthians 5 Paul compares our present life as being like living in a tent. It is a temporary structure; one which he says causes us to groan and be burdened because it is inadequate and unsatisfactory. Referring to our death he tells us that when this earthly tent is destroyed we can look forward to a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.
Paul expresses an intense desire to leave behind this earthly tent. He writes: meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, and we are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. Paul picks up a similar theme in Philippians 1. You are probably familiar with the verse that says: For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But have you ever spotted that two verses later he writes: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far ?
Like the song writer, Paul held loosely to this present life, regarding the future eternal hope as something to be eagerly desired. I wonder how many of us are genuinely more excited by our eternal heavenly inheritance than we are by this present life. I wonder too what a transformation it would make to live this life more like being on holiday, enjoying the scenery but not putting down any roots because we’re just passing through.
This blog post featured in the July/August 2015 edition of Lifelines