“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God,” (Ephesians 2:19, ESV)
As an Army brat, I had the privilege to visit many neat places. I’ve seen the Eiffel Tower, climbed the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and marveled at Notre Dame Cathedral. My feet have wandered the French Quarter in New Orleans, walked several Civil War battlefields, and sunk into the sands of Waikiki Beach. I’ve paid my respects at American cemeteries on two continents and stood silent at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The something that ties these places together is that they are all tourist attractions, some exciting and some solemn.
When we travel, we don’t spend a lot of time with the everyday kinds of places that residents know and experience. We see what we want to see. Tourists aren’t usually looking to experience all that a city or location has to offer. The dark, depressing, seedy and run-down parts of town don’t make the cut in a tight vacation schedule.
I’m certain that most Christians have, at one time or another, approached our faith with a tourist mindset. We are excited for the latest worship music. We enjoy our cozy, tight-knit small groups. And we immerse ourselves in feel-good Christian atmosphere. And there is not anything particularly wrong with those things.
In fact, scripture reminds us that we are not of this world. We are citizens of another Kingdom. So…we really are tourists, right?
When I visited Amsterdam in the Netherlands, or Saint Moritz in Switzerland, it was not to try to bring everyone back to the United States with me. My well-behaved example wasn’t expected to be demonstratively different such that they would desire to become Americans. The President of the United States had not enlisted my help to grow our already burgeoning population.
God expects us to go beyond tourism on this blue planet.
Like tourists returning from a wonderful experience, we should carry an excitement for others to know about the great time we had at Disneyland, for instance. I remember many times when a friend had seen a new movie and was so excited to tell me all about the cool special effects.
We have come from the Cross! We have been snatched from the fires of hell! We have relationship with God, who created all things! What greater experience can one have this side of Heaven? How can we not seek to bring this salvation to others? Our faith grows best when we give it away to others!
But, we are not just tourists. We seek out the places that tourists fail to see. We do so not to intermingle, but to offer a helping hand. “Justice, and only justice, you shall follow, that you may live and inherit the land that the LORD your God is giving you” Deuteronomy 16:20 (ESV). “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God” Micah 6:8 (ESV)?
Yes, we are called to social justice. Yes, we are called to bear witness to Jesus—with our lives; and with our words. Being a disciple involves both of those things.
As always, these are the musings of a mindful disciple. Blessings on your week!
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