Janet and I have been out of town quite a bit the last month or so. We took a trip to West Virginia and most recently, we drove to Chicago in advance of Janet’s trip to Williamsburg. Her mission was to visit family while I travelled to a worksite and taught classes for several days earlier this week southwest of Chicago.
We are blessed to have family members who welcome us to stay with them and it is always a pleasure to see folks that we never are able to spend enough time with. This time was even better. I was able to stay with my brother-in-law, Randy, and we had a great time. I learned many interesting facts about the area that I never knew before – and Janet and I lived in the same area for years! We attended church together in the southern suburbs and it was wonderful to observe worship at a different place from our home church hear in Carmel.
We watched our poor Cubs lose several games in the National League Championship Series and even attended a movie. In other words, the time from Thursday to Monday was filled with small projects and a particular freedom from most of the chores that I normally do when I am home. All the while, I enjoyed Randy’s company.
While it’s always true that I miss Janet when she is away, and this time was no exception, Randy and I were engaged in activities that helped the time pass very quickly. And when Monday morning came, I had to leave and travel to my assignment for the first three days of this week – teaching classes on team dynamics at a hospital near Joliet. I love what I do, and some of the additional benefit is that I stay with my brother, Doug, and his family when I teach each month.
Doug and I have careers that have diverged from one another so it is particularly nice to be able to spend the twilight years of our careers working together. The group he leads is one of the teams that I get to work with! Imagine that – what’s the chance?
The point of all this is that when I am on the road I rarely have to stay in hotels these days. Let’s face it, it gets very old going from city to city and staying in rooms that seem the same no matter what town you are in. Aside from that, it gets lonely. Eating dinner alone week after week, yearning to get done and return home, becomes the norm rather than the exception. You can only do so much shopping and watch so much tv. And day after day leading classes takes its toll as well.
So it’s wonderful to have a place to stay – a home – when you are out on the road. And as much as I love visiting family and staying in their places, the real joy happens when Janet and I get to return home to our place. No matter how much you enjoy being with others, it is impossible for me to escape at least a small feeling of being an inconvenience.
People feel compelled to feed you and try to meet every need that you may have. And I don’t know how you react to this sort of treatment but I hate for folks to go too far out of their way for me. I feel a little self conscience about it. Of course, when you return home, you can do what you want to do and not worry about offending anybody or that you have taken advantage of their hospitality.
Jesus talks about going home to prepare to spend eternity with Him. That’s our true home for anyone who is a Christian. In fact, our verse for this evening is about Jesus going ahead of us to make sure everything is ready in His Father’s house. We are told, in John 14:2, “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.”
My encouragement tonight is that Jesus wants us to be comfortable with Him; and to address all our needs in His Father’s house. There is no need to feel self conscience or that we are intruders into His space. My prayer is that you will exercise the gift of hospitality to those people around you who are still here on this earth. And that you will be able to enjoy the efforts of others to show you a good time when you visit! Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…