And that’s what I’ve been thinking about a lot these past few months. I have the picture above as my background on my computer at work because I always want to remember there’s more to life than this physical world I live in today.
In 1 Peter 1:17 Peter says that we ought to “live out our time as foreigner’s with reverent fear”. What exactly is a foreigner? According to the dictionary a foreigner is a person to that does not “belong” to the land they find themselves in. They come from “another” place.
I remember the first time I really realized that I was a foreigner in this world. It was when I went back to Ukraine at 14 years of age. I had been living in America for 9 years but America never really felt like “home” to me. I was so excited to finally visit my homeland. Where I was born. Where I spent my childhood. I just knew that the second I stepped of that airplane I would finally have that feeling that I never had when I was living in America… like I was finally “home”. But that feeling didn’t come when I stepped off that plane. It didn’t come when I traveled from city to city and spent time with my relatives. It didn’t even come when I finally had the chance to visit the village I grew up in and stepped foot into my house that brought back so many memories of my early childhood days. If there was a time and place for me to finally feel like I was “home” that would have had to be it. But I didn’t feel like I was at home at all. And that’s when I realized… America is not my home. Ukraine is not my home. It’s only when I step into heaven that I will feel like I am truly where I’ve been waiting to be all these years: home sweet home.
So a foreigner in this world is what I will always be. Too bad that often times we forget that we are foreigners. We forget that we are passing through. And we become attached to things of this world. We worry more about what our retirement plan is in this world rather than what God has in store for us in eternity. We make our lives about meeting our desires and making sure we live a comfortable life here in a world that we are only temporary travelers in. We worry about what people on earth will say about us when we die… and we forget to think about what God will say about us when we finally meet Him face to face.
And that’s why it’s been so important to me lately to remember that I am just a foreigner in this world. Because when you realize that you’re not here for too long your perspective in life changes. Your priorities shift. And you learn what is important in life. In Philemon 1:10 it is written “I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return”…. So what is it that really matters in life? Is it how much money you have in your bank account? Is it the car that you drive? Is it how big your house is? Is it the titles that you possess? No. What really matters is what you bring to God when you die that will be of any worth in eternity. It will be what HE thinks of you. My #1 goal in life is to stand before Jesus one day and hear Him say “Well done good and faithful servant”. If I hear those words I will know… I made my life count for God. I truly lived the way that I was meant to live in this world: as a foreigner.
The disciples suffered in this world during the time of early church persecution but they did it joyfully, why? Because they fully understood that it didn’t matter what was taken away from them on earth, it didn’t matter if they had to endure hardships for a season… this world was not their home… they had better and lasting possessions waiting for them in heaven (Hebrews 10:34-35) and they would be rewarded for the life that they lived to honor God. What God had in store for their future far exceeded any comfort or happiness that they could possess on earth. And because that’s all that mattered to them… they were imprisoned but they kept on sharing the gospel, they were persecuted but they kept on rejoicing during their trials, they were killed in all kind of cruel ways, but they never denied Christ… because they knew… they were just foreigners passing through.
This is what God is teaching me and hopefully teaching you as well: don’t get too caught up in living for this world that you forget what life is really all about: Jesus. Only when you start living in light of eternity will your life leave a mark in this world that will matter. Be blessed!