On March 4, a team of seven from Fair Haven boarded a plane for Uganda, East Africa. Uganda was hot, dry, and dusty. The sun was so intense it would start to cook our skin within ten minutes of exposure. The smells were foreign. The language was foreign. The customs were foreign. We ate something called matoke, listened to people sing in Luganda, and lived for seven days in a home surrounded by people from the Mpindi Clan. We were on the other side of the world having one of the most powerful experiences of our lives! We were foreigners. I was acutely aware of that fact. The team from Fair Haven represented the kingdom of heaven well. I cannot overstate how proud I was of each of them and how powerfully they lived as foreigners.
I read something when we got home that made me think. Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. I Peter 1:17 NIV. That is how we lived for seven days in Uganda. Our senses were heightened. Like children seeing new things, smelling new things, and experiencing new things we were living on the edge of expectation. We prayed for opportunities to join God in His work in that foreign land, looked for where we could join Him and we were ready at a moment’s notice to step in and celebrate what God was doing.
There is a common theme in the New Testament that reminds us we are all foreigners on this planet. Words like, alien resident, ambassadors from another homeland, and citizens of another kingdom are used to describe us. When in a foreign land it was not hard to live as a foreigner. It was natural. However, coming “home” is a different thing. Living as a foreigner when feeling so at home is a different thing. The familiar is everywhere and I have decided I’m not moving back in. I don’t want to treat this place like it is my true home when God has made it so clear it is not. We are made to live out our time here as foreigners who belong to somewhere else. As Jim Reeves wrote, “This world is not my home, I’m just passing through.” We have one pass. I’m living with heightened awareness that each moment, each conversation, and each opportunity is a gift to represent our true home in heaven itself.
Not home yet,