In My Father’s House
Today is our last full day in Hilton Head – we start our return home in the morning. And like most of the days here, we didn’t have big plans. But our friends, Steve and Patty, had located some real estate for sale – oceanfront – that we had the opportunity to visit this afternoon. So, after a little shopping, and picking up gifts for the people back home, the four of us set out in search of the ultimate oceanfront mansion – and we found it!
And what a house it was – five bedrooms, each with its own bathroom, a beautiful entry, kitchen, pool area, and just about every amenity and creature comfort one could hope for. Italianate in design, it was “over the top” without being garish. And although I have never toured a home quite like it, I can see where it could be quite a comfortable place to live. It was one of the most opulent homes that any of us have ever seen. In fact, each of the rooms featured a different fabric wall covering and you actually had to cross a bridge over the marsh to reach the entry. There was another home for sale next door, and three vacant lots – all within the gated confines of this small, elite community – right on the beach. The owner, who had never occupied or sold the home, was anxious to make a deal for the entire estate.
Of course, we have all visited incredibly expensive homes before, and they are usually huge; but this one was obviously built with care, the finest materials and thoughtfulness about the eventual occupants. I really don’t think it was built to impress the casual visitor, although it certainly accomplished that, but rather, to appeal to the longtime inhabitants of the house; those who would call this place home.
And, of course, this reminded me of a Bible story. Specifically, the one where Jesus tells the disciples that He is leaving; and that where He is going, the disciples will not be able to follow – at least until later. Of course, impetuous Peter wants to go with Jesus right away, but he is rebuffed. If you are not familiar with the passage, it occurs in the first several verses of John 14. In verses 1-4, Jesus says, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
In the next several verses, Jesus tells the disciples that the way to the Father is through Jesus Himself, and if they know Jesus, then they also know the Father. Of course, the implication is that we will “dwell in the house of the Lord forever”, as we are told in the last verse of Psalm 23.
So, as I stood in this large mansion this afternoon, I couldn’t help but think about the mansion that is our Father’s house. And that His Son, Jesus Christ, the one who died on the cross for all our sins, has gone on ahead to prepare a place for us. Now just stop and think about that for a moment – let that sink in! The Lord of everything, in the Greek we call Him the Logos, which means “ultimate power of everything in the universe” is going to prepare a special place for you, and for me, to spend eternity with Him. How cool is that! And still, Christ does not take credit for anything, because He was on earth to do the will of His Father, and after all He went through, He was returning to His Father’s house to prepare our rooms. So we will not only live with Jesus, but also God the Father. And my money says the Holy Spirit will be there also.
And if the owner of the house we toured today used the finest materials available, and special care to think about the eventual inhabitants of his creation, I can’t even begin to imagine what God has in store for us. Because God created us in Him image, and He loves us far more than we can even imagine. I don’t think we even begin to understand what opulence means in God’s vocabulary. After all, heaven will be full of gems and streets of gold. What will His mansion be like?
So my encouragement today is to remind you that Christ is already thinking about where and how you will spend eternity with Him. And my prayer is that you will stop for a moment and appreciate the care and love that God is putting into your eternal home in heaven. After all, He has gone on ahead and at the right time, when things are perfect, He will honor his commitment to return and take us with Him. And then, you will be a permanent resident, forever in our Father’s house! Amen, and amen…