Written by Amanda Harris, a core team member at Inspiring Hope Church.
As I'm sitting here writing this blog, I'm on the island of Maui. It's early because my internal alarm clock is still 6 hours ahead, so most of the resort is sleeping. I hear the crashing of the waves, and can feel a gentle breeze coming off the ocean.
Rough life, right? I'm so excited to be here. This trip was scheduled to celebrate our 5th anniversary, but because of COVID and then cancer, it's taken a few years for us to get here.
To say it's beautiful is an understatement. The weather is just perfect, it's sunny and warm, the ocean is spectacular. We saw two sea turtles while snorkeling yesterday. It's been such an amazing experience!
I have to say though that I'm struck by the reminder that as much as I would love for it to be, this is not my home. We don't really know where the best places to eat are, or what time to hit the beaches to avoid the crowds. We don't know the people around us, the staff is pretty much indifferent to our presence. Even buying groceries took longer than expected because we couldn't figure out the layout of the store! These are silly things, and absolutely to be expected! After all, this isn't our home.
I think in some ways this is what the author of Hebrews means when he writes,
"For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come."Hebrews 13:14 NLT
This verse comes in the context of some instructions for how the church should conduct itself; practical tips and advice for loving others, for focusing on the heart behind our offerings, marriage. And in the midst of telling us how to exist in this world as ambassadors, he reminds us that it's not our home.
While there are some really beautiful things about this world, like the island of Maui, the laughter of our children, yummy food… it shouldn't come as a surprise that there is discomfort as well. That things might seem confusing, that we feel generally unsettled. We should feel like tourists in this life - enjoying the beautiful things, acknowledging that the difficulties are a part of the experience, and conducting ourselves as ambassadors in a foreign land. All of the pain and suffering in this world are temporary, and so are all the beautiful things. That's why we are instructed to…
“...seek his kingdom, and these things will be provided for you. Don’t be afraid, little flock, because your Father delights to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Make money-bags for yourselves that won’t grow old, an inexhaustible treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."Luke 12:31-34 CSB
As tourists in this world, we can try to leave it a little better than we found it, pointing people to the hope that we have through Christ Jesus, all while looking forward to going home.