It has been my privilege to travel to many countries around the world in the work the Lord has called me to do.
Some of the places where I rested my head at night happened to be in very luxurious homes, where the people provided us with the best of everything. It was kind of them to provide for my needs in a manner well beyond what I afforded at home.
I have also been in homes made of dirt walls with a thatched roof where the family’s chickens freely walked in and out of the house. The hens came into the house to lay their eggs and then quickly went back out to scratch for more food.
In these homes the people had gone to great trouble to afford me one of their best meals. It humbled me as I realized the sacrifice, and inwardly wished they had not gone to such trouble. The love they had for me made it a joyful experience for them.
In our verse today, Paul takes the liberty of asking Philemon to prepare him a guest room for when he planned to visit soon.
It's been such a joyful experience for me —over several decades—to be given a guest room in so many and diverse circumstances by many of God’s people. As I reflect on where I've been, it makes me realize that the world-wide family of God is such a hospitable group of people. It seemed easy to feel “at home” when away from home.
Christians share in common the most precious truths and goals of any group of people in the world. We talk the same language as it were, because we are all familiar with biblical teaching, we all strive to faithfully serve the same Saviour, and we all desire to reach others with the Good News of Jesus Christ.
All of us are travelling to the same country in the future—where we shall be forever with the Lord.
We share the most amazing Saviour and that binds us together as nothing else can. We are all looking for that safe harbour, that home with Jesus where everyone will have a room prepared for them.
Pray the following prayer today, from the Scottish Book of Common Prayer, and may it fill your heart with hope, joy and peace to realize what is ahead for all who follow Jesus.
O LORD, support us all the day long of this troublous life, until the shades lengthen, and the evening cometh, and the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work done. Then, Lord, in thy mercy, grant us safe lodging, a holy rest, and peace at the last; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.