Strangers and Pilgrims
As many of you may know, we are now in our 6th month on deputation as USA Church Planters – missionaries to America! Before we began this adventurous journey the Lord worked mightily in my heart to prepare me and to confirm in my heart that this is what He wants for us to do.
My husband and I are not your typical missionaries on deputation – we are grandparents! Some would even venture to call us “old!” My husband often sites Caleb’s spirit as one he shares “…and Caleb the son of Jephunneh the Kenezite said unto him, And now, behold, the LORD hath kept me alive, as he said, these forty and five years, even since the LORD spake this word unto Moses, while the children of Israel wandered in the wilderness: and now, lo, I am this day fourscore and five years old. As yet I am as strong this day as I was in the day that Moses sent me: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and to come in. Now therefore give me this mountain, whereof the LORD spake in that day…” Joshua 14:6, 10, 11, 12; and it is true – my husband is full of energy and faith, and willingly puts forth every effort to do the work God has called him to do.
For a woman, this is a different decision than it is for a man that has a vision. For me it truly has been a matter of realizing that my love for the Lord and the lost souls He died to save are worth leaving my family, my home, and my church family. You know – if it was up to me I would have moved into one house, stayed at one church, and been happy all my days…but God indeed has a different plan.
He began by showing me the state of our nation and just how far we have moved from the country that proudly printed “In God We Trust” on our currency. He broke my heart for the next generation that is being trained to be secular humanists and faithless beings not realizing a need for our Saviour. Of course that next generation includes my precious 15 grandchildren…what will they face? The Lord showed me the depth of the burden that the Lord placed on my husband’s heart. As the Lord showed me these truths and placed this burden on my heart, I knew beyond any shadow of doubt that He wants us to be USA missionaries, church planters, doing all we can to reach this lost and dying world.
As He began moving my heart in this way, He moved my heart to be in tune with Mary in Luke 1:38, “And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word…” As I read that verse and already knew that God was leading us to begin this journey I replied as Mary did and surrendered to do what He has called us to to do, knowing it was not going to be easy, but definitely a privilege and the right thing to do!
And so, here we are on deputation. We are in our 6th month and we have been in nearly 70 churches, better than half have verbally stated they will support us, and a good number of those have actually begun supporting us, for which we are thankful, humbled, and earnestly desirous to be a worthy investment. As we are traveling the Lord is teaching me and showing me many new things and allowing me to see ministry and life as a Christian, a missionary from a different perspective.
Strangers and Pilgrims. That is how the Christians in the Bible saw themselves. “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Hebrews 11:13 And now that we are on deputation I understand that verse so much more clearly than before. Everywhere we go we are visitors. Every church we attend, though we definitely experience the sense of unity in the Spirit, we also know that we are not a part of that family. Every mission home we are privileged to sojourn becomes a temporary home for us – a place where we “live” for a few days at a time. My husband and I have determined that we are at home when we’re together – and we enjoy the time we spend at a guest home, a hotel, a mission’s home – but we know that none of these is our actual home. We are simply pilgrims passing through. We are strangers everywhere we go – but we have a reason and a purpose for every place we go!
As I have grasped that truth, I realize also that Peter “beseeched” or begged us (Christians – those that are born again having received Christ as their Saviour) to be strangers and pilgrims – to not feel at home with the fleshly lusts that war against our soul. This present generation is at home with their fleshly lusts – in fact – they embrace them and are not only persuaded to accept them, they are persuading others as well! For every “weakness” (sin), there is an advocacy group encouraging acceptance! “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” 1 Peter 2:11
“Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by [your] good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.” I Peter 2:12-16
And he sums it all up here…
“Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.” I Peter 2:17
And the way we get there is to realize that we are strangers and pilgrims here, and for now we are to abide in Christ, dwell in Him – and not count this world that is at enmity with God as our home…we are strangers and pilgrims.
Lord, thank you for allowing me to serve You on deputation and to experience being a stranger and a pilgrim in this world; and Lord, help me to never lose sight of the fact that this world is not my home, I’m just passing through.
Christian, I hope that you too will realize that this world is not our home – we’re strangers and pilgrims.
Have a wonderful day!