Strangers and pilgrims

Don Davis
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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average American moves 11.7 times during his or her lifetime. Yet although we are a mobile nation, we quickly become comfortable in our places and patterns of living.

The biblical patriarch Abram, who became Abraham, surely felt that way about his homeland, Ur of the Chaldees. But when God's plan required Abram to leave his comfortable birthplace, he departed without any recorded complaint. "Now the Lord had said to Abram: 'Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you.… Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan…" (Genesis 12:1-5).

When it became known that Moses had slain an Egyptian, he had a sudden travel and relocation opportunity thrust upon him he could not refuse. "When Pharaoh heard of this matter, he sought to kill Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh and dwelt in the land of Midian" (Exodus 2:14-15).

The New Testament counts Abraham and Moses among the heroes of faith who, as "strangers and pilgrims," looked forward to God's providence (Hebrews 11:13). Abraham lived in an uncertain time, and he realized his life was not his own. We, too, live in uncertain times.

Our safety – indeed, our very existence – is in God's hands. We must live by faith and not by sight. What seems impossible to us is possible for our Creator. None of us know with certainty where we will be living a year from now – or even a month or a week from now. But if we are truly the bond-slaves of Jesus Christ, we know we will be going where Christ wants us to be.

Jesus met a Roman centurion who understood this principle. "For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it'" (Matthew 8:9-10).

When God calls us, we have free moral agency and can choose to serve Him or not. We can remain in our comfort zones, or place our trust in Christ's guidance as our shepherd and protector. Jesus said, "Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time – houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions – and in the age to come, eternal life" (Mark 10:29-30).

Any discomforts that may trouble us for following God and His laws will seem irrelevant when we are rewarded at Christ's return. If our top priority is to seek the Kingdom of God, Christ has promised us that our Father will provide all our physical needs. "Therefore do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble" (Matthew 6:31-34).

To learn more about what it really means to follow God, please read our booklet, Restoring Apostolic Christianity. You may also order your own FREE printed copy if you wish.