NO PLACE LIKE HOME Andy Hollifield 1-9-18
Home—(1) the place in which one’s domestic affections are centered. (2) any place of residence or refuge (3) a person’s native place or own country
Mark 5:19 Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.
John 14:1 In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
John 19:27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
Do you realize the word “home” is only used in the bible 51 times? The word “house” is used 2026 times. If you look up the definitions of “house”, they begin with “a building” and go on to define different types of buildings. The one word that I didn’t see in those definitions was “refuge”. It goes so far as to call a house a “shelter” but doesn’t call it a “refuge”. If you look up the definitions of “refuge”, you can begin to understand the difference. It begins with (1) shelter or protection from danger, trouble, etc… (2) a place of shelter, protection, or safety (3) anything to which one has recourse for aid, relief, or escape (4) any place, person, action, or thing that offers or appears to offer protection, help, or relief. Do you see the difference? A home is a place of refuge and relief and security and comfort while a house is just a building. I have always heard this said that “it takes love to make a house a home” and I believe that to be true. If you study the marriage customs of bible times, it was the responsibility of a man to provide his bride a home. Even Jesus while on the cross, made preparations for his mother to have a home. He wanted John the beloved disciple to take her into his home and provide for her. He didn’t want her to be just anywhere, he wanted her to be where she would be loved and wanted and cared for.
I have been blessed in my life to of had the privilege to travel to a number of different states. Most of those involved mission work to some extent. I have stayed in the homes of preachers, slept in a church a few times, and even in those places regardless of how welcome I was made to feel it still wasn’t home. I have been blessed this year to see places in south Texas and northern Florida where I believe I could adapt to living but as beautiful as they were, they still weren’t home.
I had the experience at only 19 years old to travel to Boulder, Colorado with a neighbor in a truck. As beautiful and majestic as the Rockies were, they weren’t home. We had left on a Friday afternoon going out there and were headed back and had a layover in Lincoln, Kansas to pick up a load on the way back. That trip was the first time I had seen the Rockies and the Mississippi River and the Saint Louis Arch. Even with all of those new sights, by Tuesday night I was miserable. I called home that night and talked to my kid sisters and they said they missed me and I could deal with that ok. Then I talked to my dad and he helped change my future with just a few words. He said something to the effect of “be careful and hurry home; love ya.” Dad wasn’t real open vocally with such things although he was the most loving dad you could hope for. You could have beat me with a ball bat and not hurt me any worse than that did. It was just the fact that those words in particular made me realize that my lifelong dream of being an over-the-road driver had just came to an end. I sat on back of that trailer that night and bawled like a baby. I knew then that being away from home and family wasn’t something I could ever do on a regular basis. Even on mission trips, although I enjoy going, I also enjoy getting home. I have realized that home isn’t a building, but it is a place of refuge and relief. It’s not where you are that brings happiness but being with those you love.
You may be wondering by now how in the world I am going to make all of this make sense with a spiritual application. That’s an easy one. Jesus said in John 14:3 that he was going to prepare a place for us that where he was, we could be also. We sing a lot of songs about heaven and like to think how good it is going to be but there is one fact that remains that we often overlook; the fact that we will be where we are loved and accepted and treasured. Jesus loved us so much that he stretched out his arms and died for our sin. It’s not the place that we’re going that means the most to us. It’s not even all of the loved ones that have gone on before that will mean the most. What will mean the most will be when we see him and what he has prepared for us and are able to comprehend the great love that went into it. The price of admission that Jesus paid for us to be there. That love is what will make it home. All the other stuff will be wonderful but just to be with the one that loved me that much is beyond comprehension. Wherever he is, is where we will want to be because of his great love wherewith he loved us. If we all value home as much as we do now, even while struggling to pay for it and having to make repairs on it, just think what it will be when we get to our new home that has already been paid for, built with his hands, bought with his blood, and no more devil to afflict us at all. Can you imagine what it will truly be like to have no cares because there is no battle from the devil? When you stop and give it some thought, whether it is here or somewhere else, there truly is no place like home. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!