I keep running up against a wall of reality here in Ohio during our year of itineration. It goes something like this: "Oh, what a nice something-or-other! I like that something-or-other! I would like to have it!--Oh, wait. No something-or-other for me. It won't fit in the 12 boxes going back to Peru, so there is no use having that." Hmmm.
Now, I want you all to know that I do NOT feel bad for myself for not amassing something-or-others. And I have already taken on so many somethings that there is no room for others. As a matter of fact, I view the need to live simply as a great blessing, because this is the way us believers need to live. We must hold loosely to the things of this earth, and I have great reminder that I am on a journey that will end with me leaving this earth the way I came into it--without something-or-others. Twelve boxes for six people is a good little preliminary preparation.
I have been reading in Exodus, where the Israelites were told, in anticipation of their flight from Egypt, to eat the sacrificial lamb or goat and the unleavened bread "with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand." (Exodus 12:11). In other words, they were to have their jogging suits on, their tennies tied, and be poised to leave at a moment's notice.
The problem is, my cloak keeps untucking. It is so easy to sit back and lose my awareness that the days are short here, that I am to be about getting back to Peru, and not focused on settling in here. But I am not the only one who needs to tuck their cloak. There is a growing awareness in the Body of Christ that these are serious days, when the fates of men are being sealed, and that our windows of opportunity to reach people for Christ are closing. The earth itself seems to be stirring in anticipation of the return of Christ.
Keeping my cloak tucked means that my greatest investment is in knowing Christ and doing the work of the Gospel. It means that I act like someone sending their treasures on ahead, not storing them all here. That my heart is to progress in the journey, not to settle into a lifestyle of comfort.
My prayer for all of us this holiday season is that our hearts be set on pilgrimage. When we do, we will look different from the rest. Hebrews 11 lists heroes of faith who "admitted they were strangers and aliens on this earth" (Hebrews 11:13). "They were longing for a better country-a heavenly one"(Hebrews 11:16). Lord help us to eat our Thanksgiving turkeys and Christmas ham with our cloaks tucked. Fill our hearts with longing for the heavenly country that you have waiting for us. The best is yet to come!