A few weeks ago a man on the radio pointed out that in most, if not all, states in America, homeowners are essentially only renters. He said that the property taxes we pay equate to rent…if you don’t pay, the state takes away your property. And it doesn’t matter if you’ve only paid half your mortgage or paid it off twenty years ago. I had never thought of it like that before, but he was right. At first this made me a little angry. The fact that if we happened to fall on hard times and were unable to pay our property taxes, we would not even have the security of knowing our house couldn’t be taken away. The government could and would take away our house and land if we found ourselves unable to pay the taxes on it. They would not care that it is already paid for or that our names are on the deed.
And then I remembered what Jesus said to the Pharisees in Matthew 22:21, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” Of course, the context of this discussion is whether it was lawful to pay taxes, not being unable to pay them resulting in the government taking your property away. But it still reminded me that, while our house is a tremendous blessing, it is not my home. My true home is not in this world.
My true home is in Heaven with God, and that is where my daily focus should be. Paul says in 2 Corinthians “For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens” (5:1). This earth and everything in it is only temporary. The home we truly need to be looking forward to is the eternal home Jesus tells us He is preparing for us (John 14:2-3). Abraham understood that everything in this world is only temporary. He knew, beyond doubt, that there was a far better home waiting for him. The Hebrews writer said that he “was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God” (Hebrews 11:10). Abraham spent his time focusing on the eternal, rather than the temporary.
We know Abraham faced various hardships throughout his life; he was met with a lot of challenges including being asked to sacrifice his one and only son. He didn’t know how, but he knew God would take care of everything. He held strong to his faith and continued working toward his eternal home. Sisters, each of us has our own struggles and challenges that we face on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I don’t always remain strong. I don’t always remember to focus on my true home rather than this temporary one. But Paul gives us a reminder for those times our strength and focus are failing. He says, “For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Cor 4:17-18).
It is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities and forget where our focus should be. Even when things are running fairly smoothly we can get sidetracked and loose focus. Honestly I think for a lot of people, it is actually harder to maintain focus during the calmer times of our lives. However it is just as important to keep our focus when things are going well, as it is when we are in the middle of a major obstacle.
Regardless of where we are in our lives, regardless of how good or bad things are going, I pray that we all will strive to maintain our focus on our eternal home. This temporary home is a blessing, but the eternal will be far greater. In our Ladies’ Bible class one week, the teacher had a long rope that stretched out the door so we couldn’t see the end. The last three inches she held in her hand were painted red. The red represented this life, the rest of the rope represented unending eternity. She asked us why we spend so much time and energy focusing on the last three inches (on this temporary world), and so little time thinking about the rest (eternity). It was a great object lesson that helped me visualize just how brief our time in this world really is, especially when compared to eternity.
We will continue to pay our property taxes, and all other taxes the government deems necessary. But I now remember that this house and all the other physical blessings God gives me in this life are only temporary. My true home, my eternal home, is not in this world. My prayer is that we all will continually strive to put our focus on our eternal home rather than on this temporary dwelling. Just as we are told in Colossians 3:1-2, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.”
By Christie Roberts