Hebrews 11:9-10 “By faith (Abraham) made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise. For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”
When God finally told Abraham, “OK, Abraham, we’re here. This land is your new home,” Abraham didn’t live like he was at home. He didn’t buy a farm or choose a city and build a comfortable house for himself. Though he was a wealthy man, he continued to live in tents as though he was merely passing through. Can you imagine living out of a suitcase for the rest of your life?
You may also remember Abraham’s nephew Lot. He was traveling with Abraham. He made himself right at home when they reached the promised land. He chose some of the nicest territory for grazing his sheep, found himself a nice home in the city of Sodom, and fit in with the locals as well as he could, though he didn’t share in all their vices. He settled down for a comfortable life.
Abraham’s way was the way of faith. Faith leads us to live a different kind of life from the world around us. Like Lot, we may prefer to blend right in to our surroundings. When we are in school we want to dress like everyone else, listen to the same kind of music, and use the same trendy jargon the rest are using. When we get to be adults we want to make as much money as our neighbors, enroll our children in the same sorts of activities they enjoy, and drive a vehicle as nice as the next guy’s. In and of themselves, these things are harmless.
But the more we try to become like our world, the more worldly we become. Should that come as a surprise? Then some of the not so harmless features of our world rub off on us. Lot wasn’t buried as deep in the lifestyle of Sodom as his neighbors. The Lord rescued him before he destroyed the city. But Lot’s faith and morals were seriously weakened by the years he lived in the city.
We may not adopt all the ungodly beliefs our own neighbors have adopted, but Twenty-first Century Christians also grow weak from their exposure to the values of this world. We feather our nests as though this was our true home. We let the needs of our neighbor or God’s kingdom go begging.
By faith God has broken our attachments to this place and made us citizens of another. All by himself our Savior fought a war of independence to free us from the world’s claim on us. Faith takes hold of the fact that Jesus’ death and resurrection has provided something far greater, far grander, than our small, sad existence here. We may have no choice but to eat, and sleep, and work on the dirty little ball we call earth. But faith can lead us, like Abraham, to live our lives as though we are just passing through.