No, the title’s not mine. It comes from a movie about three pets who went on incredible journey in search of their home. Two dogs and a cat who, despite endless days of trouble and risk, kept their focus firm as they kept going, thinking only of the welcome, open arms of their owners.
It may sound a bit silly; but what if we took the dogs and the cat aside and put ourselves in their place? What if we were the ones who, without being sidetracked by things that seize our attention and without giving in to the comfort of inactivity, kept our focus sharply on home?
Would our lives be different if we kept our focus on eternity?
It’s fascinating to learn how the early Christians lived. Day after day, they awaited the return of their Savior. They would meet together, investing time in relationships, fellowship, prayer and worship. They read the Scriptures and listened to the Word, they shared life and belongings; rarely making use of the word “mine”. They had hardships and trials and temptations; and they were beat and imprisoned and persecuted. Yet their mind was sober and their eyes were focused—because they lived in constant anticipation of their Savior.
And it seems that the more they were persecuted, the more the Church grew.
The more they were persecuted—the more they anticipated.
And they found relief in the fear and pain and sorrow because their mind was sober and their eyes were
Those who came before us showed us the way. The early Christians and the early church have much to offer in living joyfully amidst present sorrows, because their joy didn’t depend on their status or possessions or wealth. They trained their hearts and minds to focus on their Savior as they journeyed towards home.
An apologetic letter dating back to the 2nd or 3rd century describes:
Christians… there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. As citizens, they share in all things with others, yet endure all things as if foreigners. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven. Obedient to the laws, they yet live on a level that transcends the law. Christians love all men, but all men persecute them. Condemned because they are not understood, they are put to death, but raised to life again. They live in poverty, but enrich many; they are totally destitute, but possess an abundance of everything. They suffer dishonor, but that is their glory. They are defamed, but vindicated. A blessing is their answer to abuse, deference their response to insult. For the good they do – they receive the punishment of malefactors, but even then they, rejoice, as though receiving the gift of life…
-from the letter to Diognetus, author unknown
They were homeward bound.
May He help us also be home-ward bound, keeping our focus firm as we keep going, thinking only of the welcome, open arms of our Savior.