In a previous post I’d argued that the Christian who spends much time away from their home travelling, is one who doesn’t so much gain, as miss out on all God has for us, and the ways in which God chooses to work in the world. But as well as this, I think the Christian traveller misses out on something else.
I wonder what you felt when you first came to faith and understood what you had in Jesus? Oh how sweet moments like that were – when you grasped that you were no longer condemned. When you grasped that sin had no hold on you. When you grasped that you had everything in Christ Jesus and needed nothing more. When you dreamed of what lay ahead in the heavenly realms with His people from all nations. A joy was yours that would equip you, despite the suffering that lay ahead.
Next to it, I wonder whether you’ve had the joys of leading someone else to a genuine faith and seeing them grow over the years? You get to re-live the great joys that you experienced all over again, as you see all these things dawn on them. As you see them drink in the Word and respond to Jesus’ words as if hearing them for the first time. Beautiful!
And even for those who came to faith like I did, at such a young age that there wasn’t “a moment” like this, I’m sure you can still relate to it, as I can.
The ecstasy of knowing people join the Heavenly family, and the party that follows (Luke 15, on a sidenote, started by God, not just his angels) is one worth going after, not just for God’s glory but at the same time for our enjoyment in that too.
And so if you spend most of your free holiday time travelling, not only do you miss out on Christian family, community and your own transformation through God’s chosen means for that, but you also miss out on those long-term relational links you have to non-Christian communities.
Sure, I’ve seen folk come to faith as I’ve been pleasure travelling. But it’s a rare thing rather than the norm, and it’s always been harder to see them plug into a church, given that the Christianity modelled to them is an itinerant, individualistic one. More often than not, I’ve seen most students forsake the regular meeting up with people who are different to them at home, and make pleasure travelling the “bushel” that covers their “lamp” (Luke 11:33).
We think we’re getting the best the world has to offer and even put it in religious “seeing more of God’s creation” language. Instead we’re walking away from Jesus’ purposes for us in the world and from His glory. Perhaps this hymn might help us reflect if it may be true:
1 O for a closer walk with God,
a calm and heavenly frame,
a light to shine upon the road
that leads me to the Lamb!
2 Where is the blessedness I knew
when first I sought the Lord?
Where is the soul-refreshing view
of Jesus and his Word?
3 What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
the world can never fill.
4 The dearest idol I have known,
whate’er that idol be,
help me to tear it from thy throne
and worship only thee.
5 So shall my walk be close with God,
calm and serene my frame;
so purer light shall mark the road
that leads me to the Lamb.