Weekend Getaway or Eternal Home?

curlyMaybe you remember the great scene from the movie “City Slickers.”  Billy Crystal plays a middle aged urban dweller named “Mitch” and Jack Palance plays a gruff cowboy named “Curly.”  The movie is about city guys who need some perspective in life, so they decide to take a vacation out west and participate in a cattle drive.  It’s a movie about finding what’s really important in life.

Curly helps Mitch discover the essentials with these words:  “You city folks, you worry about a lot of ‘stuff!’ (not really the word in the movie).  How old are you, 38?”  

Mitch replies, “39.”  

“Yeah, you all come up here around the same age, same problems.  You spend about 50 weeks a year getting knots in your rope, and then, and then you think two weeks up here will untie ’em for you.  None of you get it!  Do you know what the secret of life is?”

“No, what?” Mitch asks.

“This…” Curly then lifts his index finger up.

Mitch says, “Your finger?”

Curly responds, “One thing. . .just one thing.  You stick to that and everything else don’t mean ‘squat’ (again, I cleaned up the language!).

Mitch then asked the essential question:  “That’s great, but what’s the one thing?”

Curly smiles, shifts his cigarette, and says, “That’s what you’ve got to figure out!”

I think that many of us treat God as though He were a weekend getaway.  We spend all week tying ourselves into knots and then hope that an hour on Sunday in church will straighten out everything.  We need to figure out the “one thing” that changes our whole life.

The Bible says that God is our eternal home.

“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. . .” Psalm 27:4 (NIV)

“Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”  Psalm 23:6 (NIV)

“Lord, you have been our home since the beginning.” Psalm 90:1 (NCV)

Max Lucado writes:  “God wants to be your dwelling place.  He has no interest in being a weekend getaway or a Sunday bungalow or a summer cottage.  Don’t consider using God as a vacation cabin or an eventual retirement home.  He wants you under his roof now and always.  He wants to be your mailing address, your point of reference; he wants to be your home.”

This is what we need to make God our eternal home. . .

Perspective

Lift up your eyes from what is temporary and focus on what is eternal.  God put an “eternal” chip into you.  He made you to long for what is eternal.  Augustine called this a “God shaped vacuum.” All the stuff in your life are square pegs that you try to fit into the round hole which is your need for God.  Without Him, your life is ultimately empty.  You are an eternal being built for an eternal God.

Proximity

God is not far off, He is not at a distance.  He is right here with you, right now.  If you are not following Him, He is following you.  God is a pursuer.  He will relentlessly show you His love.  He sent His one and only Son to earth to show us who He is, and He has given His Holy Spirit to us to remind us of His love.  He’s close to you right here, right now.

Personal

Things got personal with Jesus.  Christ’s death on the cross and His resurrection from the tomb created a way to a previously unknown intimacy with God.

“Now this is eternal life:  that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”  John 17:3

Although David came before Christ, He knew this intimacy.

“You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” Psalm 16:11

The original Hebrew is even more intimate:  “With your face is fullness of joy.”

You can’t have someone’s heart unless you have their face.  Even kids know this, that’s why they will take their chubby little hands and pull your face towards them so that they have your attention.  When my oldest daughter, Jessie, was young, I traveled full-time as an evangelist. I missed so much of her formative years.  When I was home, I usually put her to bed.  We had a nightly ritual.  We would lay face to face on her bed and I would ask her 3 questions: What made you glad today? What made you mad today? What made you sad today?  And then we would pray.

One night she was mad at me!  I was putting her to bed earlier than she thought I should. Her big brown eyes were red with anger.  We laid face to face, but she wasn’t liking it.  I looked at her and said:  “Jessie, I love you.”  She fired back at me:  “I don’t love you!”

My immediate reaction was to turn my face away from her.  I can remember just holding my head turned away from her for a moment or two.  Then I heard a sound come from her that I hadn’t heard before.  She wailed.  She said:  “Daddy, I said I didn’t love you, but I do love you!”

I turned back and we kissed and I prayed.  I left her bed and went into my office.  As I sat there, I wept.  I realized the power of God’s face that night and felt the pain of my sin.  The Bible says that God turns away when we sin.  His holiness cannot tolerate it.  He doesn’t leave, but He turns His face.

If God is to be your eternal home, you must have an eternal perspective.  He is close to you right now and it’s personal to Him.  If you have sin, confess it to him.  He is faithful and just and will forgive you your sin and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. (I John 1:9)

 

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About Rich Stevenson

Rich is the Executive Director of The Malachi Network (www.malachinetwork.org), a ministry focused on making the name of the LORD great among the nations. This network serves young leaders in missions and church planting. Prior to his present ministry, Rich pastored in Southern New Jersey, planted a church in Wilmore, KY, established a network of churches, served as an adjunct professor at Asbury College and was a senior leader at The International House of Prayer in Kansas City, MO as well as The International House of Prayer in Atlanta, GA. Rich is the author of two books: Secrets of the Spiritual Life—10 Lessons from the One Thing Passages (Baker Books, 2003) A Voice from Home—The Words You Long to Hear from Your Father (WaterBrook Press, 2005) He graduated from Asbury College in 1984 with a BA degree in Philosophy of Religion and Asbury Theological Seminary in 1987 with a Master of Divinity degree. In 2010, Rich received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Union Biblical Seminary in Yangon, Myanmar. Rich has been married to Tania since 1982 and they have been blessed by amazing children: Zachary and his wife Meghan, Jacob and his wife Lena, Jessica and Corrie Emma.
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