December 7, 2017 • Life for Leaders
Lift up your eyes and look about you:
All assemble and come to you;
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters are carried on the hip.
Then you will look and be radiant,
your heart will throb and swell with joy;
the wealth on the seas will be brought to you,
to you the riches of the nations will come.
Yes, this is the third day of my reflections on homecoming. I want to say a bit more on this subject because I think it is crucial for us. It’s also timely, given the approaching holidays.
For Israel, the homecoming of Jews who had been exiled throughout the world was a sign that God’s kingdom had dawned. The people yearned for the great homecoming of the future.
For many of us, our literal homecomings can be wonderful. But for others, they are fraught with difficulty and pain, as I discussed yesterday. When we gather with our families for the holidays, we sometimes realize how much we aren’t really “at home,” how much we ache for an acceptance we’ll never know with our natural relatives, how desperately we yearn for a real home in which we can feel fully at peace.
This yearning can point us to our heart’s true home. Ultimate acceptance, safety, and peace come when we make our home in Christ. In John 15 Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you” (15:4, KJV). The verb translated as “abide” means “to remain” or “to make our home in.” It’s related to the Greek word for “home,” just as “abide” is related to “abode.” Jesus invites us to make our home in him. When we come home to Jesus, we’ll experience safety and acceptance. In this context, we’ll be empowered to live fruitful lives.
So, if during the holiday season you find yourself literally at home, but still yearning for a deeper experience of truly being in a place of acceptance and safety, let that yearning lead you to Christ. In him, and in him alone, you’ll find the home that sustains, protects, and empowers.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Have you ever felt at home in Christ? When?
When you think of making your home in Christ, what comes to mind?
What helps you to feel at home in Christ?
Gracious God, thank you for the invitation to make my home in you. Thank you for reaching out to me, helping me to receive the good news in faith so that I might be truly at home in you.
Lord, there is no better “home” than you. I know this, but often forget it. Forgive me when I try to replace you with other “homes,” those that ultimately disappoint. Only when I am fully at home in you am I able to enjoy and contribute to the other “homes” of my life.
I pray today for those who are about to experience difficult homecomings. May they sense your presence in the midst of their confusion and pain. Bring healing to families, friendships, and wounded hearts. Let those who ache for home turn to you, so that they might find the safety and love that you alone can provide.
In the name of Jesus, my heart’s true home, Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: I am the Vine and You are the Branches (John 15)
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.