I travel a lot lately. Too much. And while I love seeing the work World Vision does around the US--and the people are amazing--I miss seeing those 4 most important people in my world's vision.
Hotels refer to me as a "guest." But a quote from Bonhoeffer I read recently had me pondering the meaning of that word.
"I ought to behave myself like a guest here, with all that entails. I should not stay aloof and refuse to participate in the tasks, joys and sorrows of earth, while I am waiting patiently for the redemption of the divine promise."
Now this is not the kind of guest that stays in a hotel. How weird would it be if I participated in the tasks as a hotel guest? "Excuse me, but can I vacuum my own room today?" said no one in a hotel ever. No, this is more like the close friend/family guest in your home. The ones willing to sleep on the floor in sleeping bags, who don't mind waiting for the bathroom because it's just really great to be together.
We have some great friends trying to sell their house to move into a new one they're having built. We live in a solid housing market, so the chances are good they will have to leave their current house before the new one is ready. We've invited them to stay with us. We've got 3 kids, they've got 3 kids; why in the world would we do that?
Because those kinds of guests you love. They share, they participate. They engage.
That is who you and I are as followers of Jesus.
In Hebrews 11, some of the heroes of the faith are referred to as "strangers and exiles." Guests. People looking for their homeland. But as Bonhoeffer says, it was their very guest-status that allowed them to engage more deeply. It was precisely because they were not in their home that they could build roots, share, participate. And God was not ashamed to be called their God.
What kind of guest are you in this world?
Are you a consumer-guest in a hotel, coming out to get served and then retreating into your pseudo-home?
Or are you the guest who knows their very guest-ness demands a sacrificial engagement in the "tasks, joys and sorrows" of those who host?