Jeremiah 29:4-11 & Luke 19:12-13
My wife, family and I have moved several times during our 40 years of ministry and near 43 years of marriage. The idea of “home” has become somewhat as transient as our tenure. There have been places where we have stayed for different lengths of time. Early on, while we were still in Bible college, we moved according to the rent! If a place came available that cost less to rent than the one we were in, we moved and the place with the cheaper rent became “home”.
Later, as the Lord has led, “home” became synonymous with ministry. But, of all the places I have lived, there are two that stand out in my memory as “home”. One is the house in Conran, Missouri, where I grew up and the parsonage at 413 Old Military Road where we raised our family.
Because of the nature of pastoral ministry, several other places have been home to us, but when I think of it in Biblical terms, perhaps “sojourn” is a better word. “Sojourn” has a bit of a melancholy ring to it, and perhaps justly so, for it means “to turn aside out of the way for lodging”. It carries the sense of a temporary stay, as in Genesis 12, where Abram went down into Egypt for a time because of a famine in Canaan. Again the word is used by God when speaking to Abram (now called Abraham) in Genesis 26, telling him to stay in Canaan, promising to be with him and to bless him there.
Perhaps you, like we, have sojourned in several places during your lifetime thus far, or perhaps you have never been far from the place you were born; regardless, the Bible tells us that we are all “sojourners” on this earth and that our stay is temporary at best, regardless of how long we live.
Reading in Jeremiah of God’s warnings of coming judgment, God tells the nation of Judah that they would be sent into Captivity in Babylon and that upon their arrival, to “build houses…plant gardens…take wives…have children…”etc. (Jere. 29:4-7), because they would be there for the long haul of 70 years. After this, God would cause them to return home, assuring them that He had a plan for their welfare (29:11).
Unexpected changes in circumstances come into our lives for various reasons. We face the loss of health, loved ones, employment, etc., which leaves us wondering what to do next. The best advice I have ever heard is that in such times, we simply “do the next thing that needs to be done”.
When we find ourselves in circumstances where we would rather not be, we would do well to “settle down”, trusting that God has a plan designed for our good (Romans 8:28).
As Believers, ours is a world gone awry from the Garden and which has progressively gotten worse, putting one in mind of an insane asylum being run by the inmates! It does us well to remember that we are sojourners here and that our citizenship is in Heaven (Phil. 3:20).
While here, we remember Jesus’ teaching in the Parable of the Pounds (Luke 19:13, and that we are to “occupy till He comes”. The word “occupy” means “to busy oneself with”. In other words, we are to be busy about His business while sojourning here, because the Master is coming!
Our business is to be busy about His business and to leave our busyness to Him because He has a plan for us…read John 14:1-6. While the prospect of a permanent home here on earth for me has faded, the promise of my eternal home grows brighter and more with each passing day and words of 1Peter 5:10 grow more meaningful!
Let’s settle down and get busy with His business, the Master is coming!
Growing up and laboring in the cotton fields of Oklahoma and later living on the banks of Big Sugar Creek in Powell, Missouri, Albert Brumley wrote Gospel songs. Most of these songs were on two themes; one was of Heaven and the other how that Jesus Christ is the only way to get there. In 1936, he wrote the words to “THIS WORLD IS NOT MY HOME”…sing it today, remembering that God has a plan for you!