St. Louis is a quirky kind of place. We all know who is from here by one simple question that all the “natives” know to ask: “So where did you go to high school?” That simple question identifies all sorts of unwritten knowledge about a person. To my high school friends, we identify ourselves quite proudly as having attended Kirkwood High School, home of the Pioneers. We also proudly boast of having the longest standing high school rivalry Thanksgiving Day High Noon football tradition west of the Mississippi River. It’s true–see the post from Wikipedia:
Webster Groves vs. Kirkwood Turkey Day Game
The oldest current Thanksgiving Day football rivalry west of the Mississippi River (the University of Missouri-University of Kansas Border War Game being the oldest), the “Turkey Day Game” in Missouri between the Kirkwood High School Pioneers and the Webster Groves High School Statesmen celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2007. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_football_on_Thanksgiving)
But my fellow Pioneers have questioned my loyalty in recent years because I now reside in (gasp) Webster Groves. I know–traitorous behavior, unbecoming a true Pioneer. And what’s more, all three of my children attended and graduated from Webster Groves schools, marched in the band and (horrors) cheered on the Webster Groves Statesmen. And to compound the insult yet further–my husband served on the school board of Webster Groves. I know–I failed yet again.
While I may be a Pioneer to the core in the earthly realm, the truth is, I can’t honestly consider either one of these lovely communities truly HOME. This is where I “stay” while I remain tethered to the temporal life. I know that there is a much better place waiting for me…where I will not need to refurbish junk into a semi-treasure, or where decay will eventually destroy my “treasures”. Because of my position as a child of God, I am a citizen of Heaven.
It is so easy to become distracted by this earthly life, focusing efforts on those things that do not last nor count for eternity. There are days when I seriously would like to trade my home and all its “stuff” for an RV–paper plates and nothing that matters to distract me from the eternal. Nathan and I look at trailers and try to envision downsizing to be able to live in one, traveling wherever ministry opportunities arise. He is eligible for retirement in two or three more years, so we know that we have a short period to determine the direction the Lord is leading us. But in the front of our thinking is the passage out of Ephesians 1, such a great reminder of where we truly reside and where our efforts, therefore, should be focused. Maintaining that focus is a daily exercise for me.
J.B. Phillips New Testament
3-6 Praise be to God for giving us through Christ every possible spiritual benefit as citizens of Heaven! For consider what he has done—before the foundation of the world he chose us to become, in Christ, his holy and blameless children living within his constant care. He planned, in his purpose of love, that we should be adopted as his own children through Jesus Christ—that we might learn to praise that glorious generosity of his which has made us welcome in the everlasting love he bears towards the Son.7-10 It is through the Son, at the cost of his own blood, that we are redeemed, freely forgiven through that full and generous grace which has overflowed into our lives and opened our eyes to the truth. For God had allowed us to know the secret of his plan, and it is this: he purposes in his sovereign will that all human history shall be consummated in Christ, that everything that exists in Heaven or earth shall find its perfection and fulfilment in him.
11-14 And here is the staggering thing—that in all which will one day belong to him we have been promised a share (since we were long ago destined for this by the one who achieves his purposes by his sovereign will), so that we, as the first to put our confidence in Christ, may bring praise to his glory! And you too trusted him, when you heard the message of truth, the Gospel of your salvation. And after you gave your confidence to him you were, so to speak, stamped with the promised Holy Spirit as a guarantee of purchase, until the day when God completes the redemption of what he has paid for as his own; and that will again be to the praise of his glory.
So as you travel this temporal realm on earth, do you know where you truly live? Are you identified simply by one single question–if you were to meet God today, what reason could you give for being allowed into the celestial home? There is only one answer that will unlock that gate–belief in the completed sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross as full payment for sin. How do YOU answer that question?