By R.J. Stevens
A few years, ago one of our sons said, “You and mother need to go to the Bahamas or Hawaii to rest up.” Our response was when we get to go home to Kemp, Texas, that is our trip to the Bahamas. When you are away from home nearly thirty-five weeks out of the year, the remaining seventeen at home are very special.
However, when I think about home and reflect upon my experiences as a member of my earthly father’s home and a member of my own home today, the where we lived didn’t amount to very much and still doesn’t. The who we were with is what made home so grand. Being with daddy, mother, my brothers and sister is what made our home. We laughed, cried, sang, went to worship together and shared with each other. It wasn’t where we were living but it was who we were living with and how we were living that made it home. In 1947 my wife and I established our own home or family. As I look back, home was wherever my wife and children were. We moved a lot, but that didn’t destroy our home. To be with my dear companion and my children is what made it home. We also laughed, cried, sang, went to worship together and shared with each other.
Now that our children are all grown and have their own homes, home is a little different today. But it is still just as sweet as ever. This is because I am with the one who is closer to me than anyone on this earth. We have a house in a little town called Kemp, Texas. We live in a travel trailer most of the time – stay in motels and in the homes of brethren. That’s not home. Home is being with the only person in the world who has served me and would give her life for me. It doesn’t matter whether we are on a lonely road or a busy freeway, I feel at home as long as my wife and the mother of our children is sitting next to me. To me, home is being with the one who is closest to me, sharing and caring.
When a person is a Christian and has a meaningful relationship with Jesus Christ, he is at home even in this life because the Lord is by his side. Jesus said: “I will be with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:20). “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee” (Heb. 13:5). A Christian knows that Christ has served him throughout this life and that he gave his life on Calvary for him. Such love constrains us to love and serve Christ in return (2 Cor. 5:14; 1 Jn. 4:19). We are with Christ and he is with us now by faith. In the heavenly realm we will be with him by sight. In 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 Paul said, “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” John wrote, “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn. 3:2). As the song says, “That will be glory for me” “just to be near the dear Lord I adore” forever. I don’t know just where heaven is and what we will do when we get there, but that really doesn’t matter just as long as I am with the one who loved me and gave himself for me and with the one whom I have loved more than I have loved my father, mother, sons, daughter or even my wife. Love for Jesus is what makes our homes here on the earth sweeter as the years go by. A home devoted to the Lord is a foretaste of the heavenly home.
Going home to heaven means going to a place of quiet and rest, but I believe it means more than that to a Christian. It is being with Jesus, my best friend and brother, and having him sitting next to me, sharing and caring.
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 20, p. 613
October 17, 1991