Your Best Home is Still To Come
Monday - May 16th
Today's Scripture to Read: John 14:1-3
My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
Jesus (John 14:2-3)
Lesli and I purchased our first home back in 1993. We had settled into our first ministry setting after seminary. I joined the team of pastors at Limerick Chapel in Limerick, PA (a western suburb of Philadelphia), in the summer of 1992. We thought God planned to keep us there for quite some time. Through the providence of God, I got connected to a former staff member of Limerick Chapel, Harry Wagner, and his wife, Velma. They had built their house twenty years earlier and now needed to move into assisted living.
Harry and Velma (along with their children) offered to hold the mortgage for Lesli and me if we bought the house. It was a beautiful one-acre piece of property with a great house in which to start a family. Our son, Jon, came home from the hospital to that house after he was born. We moved from there to a new ministry opportunity about eight hours away in West Virginia. New housing developments were popping up all around our house in Pennsylvania, so we could not sell it for the price we needed.
We decided to rent out our first house while we were paying for our new home in West Virginia. We thought that would last a few months - maybe a year. It lasted seven years and multiple tenants who often moved out in the middle of the night. Some left broken appliances, and one painted all of the wood trim throughout the house blue just before moving out. After attempting to sell the house on multiple occasions over the years, we finally sold it in 2004, almost nine years after moving out of it. Renting out our first home for numerous years was not a pleasant experience (that is an understatement).
Lesli and I have owned three homes in our thirty-two years of marriage. Each of them has a special place in our memories (well, the one in Pennsylvania, not so much). Each of our homes has required upkeep, hard work, and significant financial investment. Each has been home to our kids and us. But, all of them fail in comparison to the home promised us as followers of Jesus Christ.
While talking to His disciples in the upper room the night before He was crucified, Jesus, in John 14:1-6, talks about a home He is preparing for His followers. He told the disciples that He would be leaving them and would be returning to His Heavenly Father. But, he said that He would come again, and they would go to be with Him in Heaven forever. He promised them that He was preparing a special home in Heaven.
Some translations use the word "mansion" to describe this home. The translators chose a word that would speak of great value. The problem with that choice of translation is that it speaks of material wealth. What Jesus promised was a place to live with Him - literally "a dwelling place." What makes the home or place He is preparing for each of his followers valuable and special is not how big, fancy or expensive the home is, but where it is and how long it lasts. Jesus promises us a home with Him forever.
Maybe the places you and your family have lived have all been picture-perfect, Norman-Rockwell-painting-like houses. Perhaps you have nothing but positive memories and experiences from them. The best home on earth pales in comparison to the promise of living with Jesus forever. To be with him in a place free of clogged toilets, termites, renters who sneak out in the night, and payments, that is a precious promise. Thank God for the home He has given you here on earth, but then thank Him for the eternal home He promises you in His presence one day!
No matter what happens here on earth, Jesus promises you a home with Him forever!