"Are you not surprised to find how independent of money peace of conscience is, and how much happiness can be condensed in the humblest home? A cottage will not hold the bulky furniture and sumptuous accommodations of a mansion; but if God be there, a cottage will hold as much happiness as might stock a palace" (Dr. J. Hamilton). I don't know who this Dr. Hamilton was, but he could've written this entire column with insight like that!
Home is where the heart is. That's a saying that is familiar to most of us. It's also a sentiment that is familiar to many of us. We may live in a house, but do we live in a home? "Home" is portable. A house, an apartment, a trailer, a tent, barracks, dormitory, hotel room, hospital bed, nursing home, secret closet, spider hole, abandoned bus, cardboard boxthese are all places to live, circumscribed by dimensions and time. They are all different, yet all can be called "home." Home travels with you, and expands or contracts to fit the space allotted to it. In fact, "home" fits rather nicely in your heart.
It's very possible to live somewhere for an extended period of time and not consider it home. You could be in one location and still long for the place of your youth, or wherever you felt at home. Soldiers and missionaries and overseas students ache for home, even though they may have chosen their new locations. Spouses who move away from their childhood haunts are often haunted by a feeling of emptiness or drifting, and long to go back "home." Most of us, if given the opportunity, would prefer to die at home. There is a sense of "home" that every soul longs for. Proverbs 27:8 says, "Like a bird that strays from its nest is a man who strays from his home."
When a person becomes a Christian, everything changes, including and especially his or her destination. In ancient days, God told Abraham to leave his ancestral country and go to a land that he had never seen. "So he left the land of the Chaldeans and settled in Haran. After the death of his father, God sent him to this land where you are now living. He gave him no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child" (Acts 7:4, 5). Since then, generations of Jews have longed to possess the land of Israel, their home land. And one day, they will.
Similarly, Christians long for their new land. Jesus promised, "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you" (John 14:2). Paul tells us, "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20). No matter where we make our home on earth, our heart's desire should be toward our heavenly home and Savior.
One of the things that makes a house a home is the presence of someone you love. For married couples, spouses long to be with each other. Whether it's the huge ranch or the hospital room, as long as the spouse is there, it's home (or at least a bit more tolerable!). It could be children, pets, books, tools, or just familiar surroundings, but wherever your heart lies, there is your home. Jesus said as much when admonishing the greedy: "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:20, 21).
Where is your home? Believers speak of death as "going home." When that time comes, where will you go? Do you long for the Lord's return to take you home?
Alan Allegra is a freelance Christian writer in Pennsylvania. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. More articles at Lifestyles Over 50: http://www.lifestylesover50.com/ and the Morning Call: www.mcall.com. Available for writing. LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/alanallegra/
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