As I sit here this morning enjoying my cup of coffee, internet availability, and air conditioning, I am also pondering a heavy and even somewhat disquieting question: Are we (meaning believers) too much at home here on earth? That may sound like an odd question for a Wednesday morning, but I am driven to ask it as I read the words recorded in 1 Peter 2:11. In that passage, he refers to believers as strangers and aliens. Other translations use the words: foreigners, temporary residents, sojourners, pilgrims, exiles, etc.
Peter is attempting to get those who are reading his letter to consider how their lives should stand out in contrast with the world around them. You can go and read 1 Peter 2 for yourself to see how our lives should differ from the culture at large.
Paul addressed this very same thing in his letter to the church in Philippi. He calls them to live distinctly Christian lives “so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life” (Philippines 2:15-16a). What a great word picture as we consider our lives. Do we shine like stars in the dark night sky?
The words of that old song keep playing as a soundtrack in my mind as I type:
This world is not my home
I’m just a-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.
I do not believe we are called to abstain from everything that is enjoyable. As the Apostle Paul warns the rich about putting their trust in those riches, he also reminds them that God “richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment” (1 Timothy 6:17). There is a very real danger that we can be conformed to the pattern of the world, that the world’s priorities become our priorities, that the very things God gives us to enjoy become a substitute for enjoying God Himself!
Am I too much at home here? Am I satisfied with the temporary and transient, while that which is lasting and eternal fails to hold my attention or thrill my soul? Have I settled for the American dream when God calls me to a Kingdom purpose? These are questions worth pondering, in fact, we should ask these questions of ourselves routinely to keep us from drifting into materialism and self-sufficiency.
There is a phrase I have often heard through the years: “Too heavenly minded to be any earthly good.” Im not sure that is a problem for most of us. Our challenge is that we may become too earthly minded to be any heavenly good.