A Nice Place to Stay But It Isn’t Home!
A Nice Place to Stay
But It Isn’t Home!
2 Corinthians 4:13-5:1
† IHS †
As you wander through this journey of life, may you know the grace of God our Father, that reminds you that this isn’t your final home!
A Parker Parable: The Christian Life is Like a Vacation!
Often in scripture, a story is used to illustrate a point of great spiritual significance. The old name for these, especially when Jesus used them, was a parable. Today’s Epistle reading, the one William did, will be explained with such a parable….
The Christian Life is like a vacation.
That is, it might be a nice place to stay for a while, but it isn’t home.
The Good Bad and Ugly
Anyone here ever have the a vacation that could have been made into a movie, because it was such a comedy of errors? How about the vacation that was the ultimate in disasters? Even the most perfect vacation, there is a point where you’ve exhausted yourself, and realize it is time to go home.
You know how you feel, when you get back home, drag the suitcases from the trunk, a drag them into the bedroom, and collapse on the bed, and fall into a deep and peaceful sleep?
in a real sense, life is like that vacation, and heaven is even more like home than the bed you fall into… even more restful, even more peace-filled, but glorious!
The Man Made Life
The Apostle Paul, who wrote the letter to the church, uses this illustration in the last verse of our reading, when he says,
For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.
Anyone here remember going tent camping for the first time, or in my case, using a tent-trailer for the first time… or wait…even the last time? When you struggled to put it all together, when you accidently camp in the dry stream bed? When you realized you didn’t plan for going to the bathroom, or you forget the can opener or the matches to light you coleman stove?
We make a lot of errors in our lives. Some are out of ignorance, some are because we are too proud and stubborn, and have the strange idea that we know more than God about how life should be lived.
The result? Watching the tent washed away by the sudden rush of water that filled the creek, or finding out that poison oak is not a good substitute for toilet paper, or spending all your energy trying to rub two sticks together for 45 minutes to start that fire.
You want to give up, you want to quit, you want to drive home now, and call the vacation quits. Sometimes life is like that, we get so overwhelmed at how broken it can get. The troubles may not be as big as we make them, matter of fact we may learn a lot from them, if we breath and take our time.
Other troubles are that big, and the brokenness they cause may seem like we can’t go on, that we can’t get past them.
So I spoke.
Let’s go back up to the beginning of the reading again. Paul explains why he preaches, why he talks about Jesus.
13 But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.”
When we hear this, what we don’t hear is the context of Paul’s life, and we really don’t hear what the Psalmist was thinking, because the verse is only partially included. Let me share with you’re the rest of it,
Ps 116:10 — I believed in you, so I said, “I am deeply troubled, LORD.”
Sounds like David’s been on some of my vacations!
You see, the faith that the Psalmist and St. Paul shared was a trust in God that led us to call out to God when life falls apart. When our own sin, or just the unrighteousness of a broken world consumes us.
Because we believe, we go to Him, we speak to Him, we call out to Him.
You see, one of the sins that so easily ensnares us, is when we think we can live without God, either because we think He doesn’t care, or that He has written us off because we’ve done something so bad He can’t heal and restore us.
If you are familiar with the 10 commandments, one of them is,
7 “You must not misuse the name of the LORD your God. The LORD will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name. Exodus 20:7 (NLT)
I want you to think about something for a moment.
We usually think of misuse being when you use God’s name to cuss, or swear, or teach false doctrine. But it is also a misuse of God’s name when you don’t use it when you should. When you could call out to Him for help and comfort when you are troubled, when you need to be rescued, when you find life to broken or to frustrating.
That’s the point of being in a relationship, with God and with the people of God. To know the presence that brings comfort and peace. To know the love that will sustain you, and will celebrate with great joy with you.
The Glorious Relationship
This is what enables St. Paul to write:
16 That is why we never give up! Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. 17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
Paul knows that the troubles that we face, and he often faced the worst of them, don’t have to lead us away from God to find peace, but rather, they lead us to Him. That is the trust that Paul and the writers of the Psalms have in God, to know that the God who will renew their spirits, who will lift them and us up, when we are down. That will help us, as Paul continues,
we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever!
The things we can’t see? This is what the passage before the reading told us:
18 So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NLT)
We fix our eyes on the promises we have in Christ. We fix our eyes on Christ
And knowing His plans for us, for all of eternity, knowing His love and mercy which can heal our brokenness, can cleanse us of the effect of every sin, that brings us into the Father’s glory… we call out to Him in confidence, and find in His answer, a peace that goes beyond all understanding, and guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.