Layity Reflection: Are you a Stranger or a Tourist?
November 8, 2013
At the present time our adult Sunday School class is studying a book by Fran Sciacca called To Stand and Not Be Moved. It takes a look at characters from the Bible and reflects on how they can influence us to strengthen our faith to face life’s challenges. We are considering the life of Abraham and the question, “Are you a stranger or a tourist?” Let’s think about what we do when we are tourists. We want to get the most enjoyment we can from the locations we are visiting. Most of the time we don’t want to be singled out as a “tourist”, so we do what we can to look like we belong, to be able to fit in to the culture around us. But when we look at Abraham, he didn’t view his travels that way. Consider Abraham’s description of himself in Genesis. Genesis 23:4: “I am a foreigner and stranger among you. Sell me some property for a burial site here so I can bury my dead.” Even though God promised “descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore”, at the time their deaths, Abraham, Sarah and even Isaac and Jacob their heirs were still living by faith. Hebrews 11:13-16: “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. 14 People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. 15 If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 Instead, they were longing for a better country-a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” They were not trying to blend in or be like the people whose land they lived in. How are we doing in that account? Are we trying to blend in, wanting to maximize our personal enjoyment in this our earthly home? Or are we willing to live as “resident-strangers”, looking forward to the place God has prepared for us in the life ahead? As resident strangers, life may not include the “enjoyment of tourism”, but it does include the “JOY” that comes from the faith we have in the promises of Jesus Christ and the life that lies ahead. Romans 12:2 states: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Consider how you are approaching these areas of your life; like a tourist on earth or a resident stranger belonging to God. - my relationship with God, obedience to God’s Word, accumulating material goods, use of my possessions, investment of my time and money, and how I see relationships. In a quiet time with God, confess those areas, where your life looks more like a tourist and ask how you can grow more like Abraham as a resident stranger, looking forward to a better “home” in God’s kingdom. On a personal note: Thank you so much to the fire & ambulance volunteers and Tama Co. sheriff’s department, who responded to the explosion last week and provided care and support in the midst of the event as it unfolded. Thank you to the area pastors & lay-persons, who surrounded the families and our community with their care and prayers. Written to God’s honor and glory, Carolyn Moe Graduate, School for Lay Ministry
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