Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wanderers and Householders

Recently the daily meditation in the devotional magazine our church distributes began with an appealing quote from Charles Haddon Spurgeon: “May we live here like strangers and make the world not a house, but an inn, in which we sup and lodge, expecting to be on our journey tomorrow.”

When I ran across this thought I was much attracted to it. It was a day in which I had been distracted and/or distressed by several concerns ranging from the security (or possible insecurity) of my retirement investments to the appeal (or possible lack of it) of the daily menu in the Westminster Village dining room.

Spurgeon’s words recalled to mind the revival hymn we sang with fervor in my young adult years: “This world is not my home, I’m merely passing through./My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue./An angel beckons me from heaven’s open door/And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.”

That’s soothing to the spirit, but dangerous to the soul. It suggests we are merely guests in this world with few responsibilities. We don’t even have to make the bed we sleep in.

Not so. We are guest workers, charged with taking care of this planet, sometimes with doing the dirty work of cleaning up its messes. We are stewards, responsible for the careful use of resources and the opportunity to use them for the good of others. We are brothers and sisters, living at home in the family of nations and charged to keep the house clean and live at peace with one another.

In the end, isn’t that more satisfying than to think we’re just wanderers on the earth, responsible for nothing more than to pay our board bill and tip the waiter?

~ Bert Johnston, author of Parson Campbell’s Breakthrough

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