By Bob Buchanon
Can you remember the first night you spent away from home? Do you remember tossing and turning in bed for a couple of hours and then complaining, AI think I have a tummy-ache. I want to go home.” That is a feeling most of us are familiar with. It is what we call “homesickness.” Many people who ought to have a spiritual homesickness do not. Too many Christians look at this earth as their “home” and have not developed a homesickness for heaven.
The Scriptures teach of this world and the relation that the Christian is to have to it. We must develop the proper attitude which says, I will live in this world, but not be of this world” (John 17:14-16). One’s soul is more precious than the whole world (Mark 8:36-37). It will either conquer the world or will be conquered by it! Paul told us not to be conformed to this world (Romans 12:1-2). We can never serve this world and look at it as “home” and be with God in the eternal world to come.
Most people would like to think that heaven will be their home after death. The subject of heaven is a very pleasant one to most readers, but we would like to postpone our “homecoming” just as long as possible. People have spent many hard hours and much money in building their houses, buying cars, beautiful clothes, etc. There is too much here that we hold dear for us to be willing to leave at this time. The fleeting joys of this world seem to entice more people than the eternal security in the presence of God. This is why many Christians find service and faithful obedience so difficult. They just are not homesick enough to sacrifice self and the present for eternity with God in heaven.
Jesus promised us that “home” with God will be much better than our “home” on this earth. He said, “Let not your heart be troubled: believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:1-3). Our life on this earth is so filled with problems and cares that it is hard for us to think of a home where God “shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and death shall be no more; neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain, any more. . . ” (Rev. 21:4).
Abraham was a perfect example of one that lived by faith. He lived as an alien in the land of promise, not because he disliked Ur of Chaldees or loved Canaan, but because he was homesick, “. . he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God” (Hebrews 11: 10). For true believers, to live by faith is to die in faith. The life of faith is a pilgrimage (see Hebrews 11: 13). Heaven is the only home of faithful believers. It is the better country to which those who live by faith are fully committed (Hebrews 11:16).
Paul told the Christians at Philippi that “our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil. 3:20). At one time in his life Paul would have said, “I am willing to go, but I want to stay.” Now he says, “I want to go, but I am willing to stay.” He knew that “to live is Christ” but “to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21).,Paul told Timothy that “. . the time of my departure is come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give to me at that day; and not to me only, but also to all them that have loved his appearing” (2 Tim. 4:6-8). He was telling the young preacher that he was ready to die, but not because he was tired of life; he was just homesick.
About the year A.D. 125 a Greek by the. name of Aristeides was writing to one of his friends about the new religion, Christianity. He was trying to explain the reasons for its extraordinary success. Here is a sentence from one of his letters: “If any righteous man among the Christians passes from this world, they rejoice and offer thanks to God, and they escort his body with songs and thanksgiving as if he were setting out from one place to another nearby.” What a beautiful description of faith in immortality~that a man sets out from one place to another nearby! He is going home! Is it any wonder that a religion like that swept paganism? Those who are gone before are not lost, not separated from us permanently; they are only waiting in another place nearby for us to join them. To the Christians it is going to be a wonderful homecoming. Are you homesick for heaven? Enough that you are working and serving God now so that you can draw as close to heaven in this life as possible? Perhaps it depends on where your “home” is.
Truth Magazine, XVIII:34: p. 2
June 27, 1974