Being called home is a releasing of consent on behalf of the called to choose to go somewhere they consider to be a place of comfort, love and joy. Being sent home is a forceful hand of rebuke to a place where scolding is about to occur. The writer Paul reveals a life of one who is being called home. One who is not being taken by surprise like a thief in the night to a place that is foreign to him, or that he is running from, but instead is being given a loving release into the hands of a caring Father who has said my son your work is finished and done well, now enter into your reward. He is not kicking or screaming at the thought of returning, but looking forward to it as one does a vacation they prepared for in advance.
“For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing”. (2Ti 4:6-8)
“And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.” (Act 21:11-14)
Paul speaks as a man ready to go home, to endure whatever momentary affliction necessary to get there. His hope and desires were not wrapped up in what this world could offer. Having suffered at the hands of preaching the Gospel to the lost, and even making lasting beautiful relationships with the children of the Most High, yet his mission was bigger than this earth could contain. He didn’t see himself as one who belonged to this world, but one who belonged to the Lord. Like Paul we have to make a decision are we going to be attached to this life and all that it entails or attached to Christ? Will we live to make a difference for the kingdom of God or a dollar for the advancement of this world?
We don’t face an economic crisis, or a security breach, we face a moral crisis, and a breach of conscience. -Torie McLaughlin
How else can one figure Paul saying, to live is Christ and to die is gain? Such an expression in the minds of psychologists would lead them to wonder if he was suicidal because of his current state. The pleasures of living had somehow cease and thus his mission enveloped his whole reason for living, to such a degree that death was an invitation to an upgraded benefits package. By no means do I believe Paul was suicidal, I believe Paul was focused and non distracted by the temporary pleasures of this life. He was singularly focused and understood that his life’s purpose was greater than his personal pleasures. Those things which in our minds make life in this mortal body more precious to us then life in our glorified bodies with the Lord.
We must have a change of perspective. A fresh look through the lens of a disciple who disciplines himself to living for Christ regardless of his personal feelings or condition. Is Christ only worth serving when all is well in our world? Have we relegated the living God to that of a Genie who grants wishes? Is our serving Him only done when things are going our way? I thank God that his unconditional love towards us was such that while we were yet sinners, not thinking about a Savior, He chose to die for us, the ungodly that we might have an opportunity to be restored to Him. When our frame of mind was to stone him, his was to forgive our ignorance. Life presents opportunities for us to really see where our faith lies. Sickness, disappointments, set backs, and set ups are put in place so that we can see whether or not we are Peter before Christ died or Peter after the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. Are we depending or leaning on our understanding and judging God based on our viewpoint or are we committed to Him even when we don’t understand what He is doing in our lives?
I’d like to say my faith is always where it ought to be in regards to this, but like Paul I have those moments where my flesh is in control and as he stated in Romans 7:19 “For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.” There are very personal areas in my life where my faith is being challenged, and nothing in the natural says that I should trust that things are working out for my good, yet in the midst of it, I know God is maturing me, and nothing that hasn’t been weathered after conditioning can truly be tested or made tough for durability. I am believing every wrinkle has a purpose and I am being seasoned for a greater glory ahead. If you too are being challenged just continue to hold on Yah is preparing you for a greater glory.
Finally, this is the question I ask myself, are the decisions I am making preparing me to be called home or sent home? Like Paul do I bear in my body the marks of Jesus Christ or the marks of my own wayward decisions? (Gal. 6:17) Will I allow Christ to be magnified in my body, whether it be life or death? (Php. 1:20) Am I keeping my body under subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast away? (1 Cor. 9:27) By all means I want to be called home when my time comes, but by no means do I want to be sent home. I am now sent to the nations through the tongue of my pen as a ready writer and trust me what I say to you convicts me too. (Psa. 45:1) I have by no means arrived, but I strive towards the mark of the High Calling of Messiah Yahushah and it is my duty as my brothers keeper to encourage you to do the same. (Php. 3:14) Shalom my readers and good night.