August 31, 2013

Home-making and Housekeeping

Home spawns many familiar sayings, from "Home is where the heart is" and "Peace, like charity, begins at home" to Oprah Winfrey’s, "I think that when you invite people to your home, you invite them to yourself."
Bill Cosby observed that, “Human beings are the only creatures on earth that allow their children to come back home.” Is this related to Meister Eckhart’s statement, “God is at home, it's we who have gone out for a walk”?

Jesus understood the dearness of home to the human heart. He used it to illustrate eternal life and the dwelling place of God by saying,

In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? (John 14:2)

The ultimate home is where God lives. Sinners who are estranged from Him have indeed “gone for a walk” and some may not even care to go home. Yet others of us long for that place. Sometimes I am caught up in the thought of eternal life with Him, even saying aloud, “I want to go home.”

More often, I say it when life is hard and because the idea of home for a Christian is in deep contrast to this alien life here on earth. Here, I am a citizen of heaven living on earth as an ambassador, and find great appeal in being with God in the place He prepares for me.

This morning, I’m again prompted to think about this heavenly home where God lives. This is not to be confused with a building or house for public worship. A church is often called “God’s house” yet it is only a building where God’s people meet. The temple of Solomon was called God’s house also for God was represented as dwelling there with His throne in the Holy of Holies.

Sometimes the whole universe is represented in Scripture as God’s house, built one story above another. But the highest heaven is represented as the house of God, reserved for himself for his own dwelling. The psalmist expressed this in verses such as, “To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens” (Psalm 123:1) and “The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven…” (Psalm 11:4)

There is a sense where the house of God is closer than heaven. Because He lives in His people, those who genuinely believe in Jesus Christ are called the temple of the Holy Spirit, the dwelling place of God. Collectively, we are His household living here on earth, along with the saints who have gone before us and live in His heavenly home.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:19–22)

This places on me a responsibility because my role as a housekeeper has several senses. I’m engaged in keeping tidy and maintaining the structure in which I live. I must do the same for my spiritual life for Christ lives in this earthen vessel and wants my life of clay to bring Him glory. For both, I have the help and grace of the Holy Spirit.

I’m also charged with care for the Body of Christ which is His corporate dwelling place. This includes allowing other Christians to care for me. Together we can do this because of the Lord’s grace and mercy.

As for the other house, the home of God, Jesus said He is there preparing a place for us, or as my post a couple of days ago says, He is preparing an opportunity for us. For this, my participation is more about what I leave out of this life. If I clutter it up with sin or even temporary treasures, there will be less space for the treasure He gives as a down payment on my future and final home. 

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