DayBreaks for 6/15/18: The Lifestyle of a Tourist
From the DayBreaks archive, June 2008:
It was only about a month ago that I was a tourist. My wife and I were on vacation in Florida, at the world’s number one vacation city: Orlando. We lived in Florida many years ago, but I was stunned at how much Orlando had changed. The air was still hot and humid, but everything else had changed. The orange groves that used to blossom and smell so sweet were nowhere to be seen. But there I was, in my shorts and touristy-looking shirts. I’m sure that wherever we went, we were quickly spotted as tourists.
Tourists live a different lifestyle than residents. Tourists don’t have to get up and go to work in the mornings. Tourists don’t have to cook, mow the grass, wash the car or water the lawn. When you’re a tourist, someone does all that for you. And that’s not bad.
But what is sad is when Christians start to live all their lives as if they are tourists. By that I don’t mean living as sojourners in a strange land – for we are to live like that! What is bad about being a Christian living as if you’re a tourist is that tourists are often living on a tight schedule – too many things planned to see and do and not enough time to really enjoy any of it. And so tourists want shortcuts – shortcuts through the lines at DisneyWorld, shortcuts through security at the airport, shortcuts to getting your luggage and to hit the road for adventure.
Christians live like tourists when we want shortcuts through the life that God has designed and given to us. We want instant sermons, shorter worship. People seem to want a list of things they can do that will earn them instant credit at the gates of heaven. People, Christians – don’t want to take the longer way and learn things as they go. We are far too impatient for results and don’t focus nearly enough on the process and what it is meant to teach us. It is interesting that, of all people, Friedrich Nietzsche (who was certainly no friend of Christ or Christianity) saw this so clearly: “The essential thing ‘in heaven and earth’ is…that there should be long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living.” And the world tries to crush that “long obedience in the same direction” out of us, leading us to despair and give up.
Yes, we are like nomads in this world. But we are not to be tourists. We are residents here. We are to engage in the sometimes long and painful processes that shape us, and which in turn, shape the world. God isn’t looking for heavenly tourists – he wants folks who are coming to the kingdom to stay!
PRAYER: Jesus, you persevered so much in this world and have given us an illustration of what it means to live as a stranger in a foreign place, yet remain fully engaged with life. Help us to be patient – to see the blessing in the process and not just in the ending. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
COPYRIGHT 2018 by Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.