Friday, March 2, 2018
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Our friends own this historic New England inn, and we were privileged to be their guests there on occasion. We loved to go there. I mean, that quaint New England village with a lot of charm. Unfortunately, it's not real close to any major ski area or other attractions. So the hotel and motel owners there were doing OK, but they seldom would sell out. We can understand why our friends, the innkeepers, and the other hotel owners in the area weren't too excited about the news that a couple of major national motel chains would build in their town. There doesn't seem to be enough demand for rooms there to match all that supply. In fact, one point my friend kept making to the town fathers was this. He says, "This is a nice place, but this is not a destination."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about "Not A Destination."
If you belong to Jesus Christ, you could look around your world right now and make that same observation. "This is a nice place, but this is not a destination!" See, once you've gotten a glimpse of eternity through your relationship with Christ, earth and earth-stuff should never look the same - never mean the same. Because this is not where we end up; this isn't home.
In our word for today from the Word of God, Peter is talking to people who have lost a lot. Many have been driven out of their hometown and their immediate futures are up for grabs. In 1 Peter 2, beginning in verse 9, Peter reminds them, and us, of who they really are and where they really belong. "You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God...Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires." The King James Version refers to us as "strangers and pilgrims in the world".
Well, however you say it, God's meaning is clear. This world is your temporary assignment from God, but it isn't home. This isn't a destination. It's a place you pass through. It's Hotel Earth. In the words of the old hymn, "This world is not my home. I'm just a passin' through. My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue."
The problem is that too many of us are living as if this is a place that we're staying, not just visiting. You can tell by how much earth-stuff we're accumulating, by how much time and effort and money we spend on things that will last only a lifetime instead of an eternity. By how seldom we tell people about Jesus and eternity, by the advice we give our children on what kind of lives they should aspire to. Strangers and pilgrims don't fill their arms with all this stuff and then start settling down in a place they know they're in for just a short time. For us eternity folks, that's what an earth-house is, an earth-car, an earth-job, an earth-position. It's all for a very short time.
Which means some of us should be de-cumulating, simplifying our lives so we're living more like we're passing through than settling in. A good question might be, "How can I put my earth-stuff to work for the Kingdom of God? Are there people who have very little who need what I have much of?"
Our great satisfaction should be in our giving, not our saving. We should be teaching our kids to live for what will be important in heaven forever instead of on earth for maybe 70 years. And as you look around, remember that all the people in your world are going to end up in one of two destinations forever depending on what they do with Jesus. If you know where their real destination is, you won't let any earth-issues keep you from telling them about how they can live forever.
Our getaway spot in New England was, as the innkeeper said, a beautiful place. It's just not a destination. There's a lot of beauty along the way on our earth-journey, but we're just passing through. Hold earth-stuff lightly. Don't hold a lot of it. Remember that earth-struggles are, at most, only temporary inconveniences.
So, stand back and look at your days, and your house, and your life and see what they're full of. Open up everything to your Lord. You don't want Him coming back some day and saying to you, "What's all this? This wasn't your destination."