In the past year I have been doing a lot of reading and research on what seems to me to be a major theme in our lives and indeed across the entire biblical narrative, that of exile and homecoming. Perhaps you can relate to this. That is, to varying degrees we all experience exile in this life and we have a longing for and are trying to get home. Even if we aren’t consciously aware of it.
Home is so important to us and has so many thoughts, feelings and connotations attached to it. As the saying goes ‘home is where the heart is’
If you or I have a particularly hard day or the day seems unusually long and uphill or we go away on a journey we will at some point say with a deep breath, ‘I can’t wait to get home’ . Yet, we also know deep down as much as we try (and each of us has really tried) that this world is not our home. There is something missing, we long for more. If we have moved away from our childhood home we might even try to go back there to recapture what we miss but it’s no longer there. The home we long for, the home we desire (desire is a keyword) most cant be found in fullness in this life or in this world. What we now see only in part is often a struggle for us yet, at the same time we can be very hopeful that what we long for, what we deeply desire lay ahead of us.
If you can pardon the pun, CS Lewis’ quote from Mere Christianity really hits this point ‘home’.
“Most people, if they had really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise […] If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
Lewis continues, “Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that other country and to help others to do the same.”
– C. S. Lewis, from Mere Christianity, pp. 135-137. Published by HarperCollins.
The very fact that we have these desires for our true home is a good thing. Friends, remember that in Christ, we have a hope and a future in the now and the not yet. Moreover, if your faith is in Christ then today, be encouraged and reminded that He is both the way home and is our home as the scriptures from Hebrews and John’s gospel remind us.
“For here we do not have an enduring home, but we are looking for the home that is to come” Hebrews 13:12-14
“Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them” John 14:23
At a broader level, skilled helpers or Christian Counsellors serve to help people in need find their way home. I want to challenge you today as you are reading this to consider your calling as a skilled helper or a Christian Coach or Counsellor.
It might be that your presence helps someone:
- Get home that day alive,
- To stay home and not leave
- To find a new home
- Like the prodigal son, to go home after losing one’s way
- To come to know or be reminded of their true home in Christ in whom we live and move and have our being who will ultimately when our numbered days are up – will take us home
We see in Jesus life and missiology in the sending out of the 12 and 72, three key things he gave them (and us) to do which hold to this day
- Preach the Gospel
- Heal the sick
- Cast out demons
As part of the work and ministry of helping people find home all three are needed and important. Healing the sick can literally mean the laying on of hands and miraculous healing. Yet it also has a broader and far reaching meaning. In scripture the word for healing is used several times in the gospels. It is the Greek word Therapon. Therepon means to heal, relieve suffering and pain and help people. To be a special servant of higher duty. Such healing is greatly needed in these times.
It’s where we derive our English word “therapy”. Therapon is an exceptional and honorable title. Christian Counselors are therepons
Helping hurting and healing people to recover from life-controlling problems is also an exceptional and honorable ministry. A Christian counsellor does not heal per se, but rather assists in healing. That is exactly what a Therapon does. God does the healing, but He uses skilled, trained, compassionate therapons to assist in the process.
So in short today friends, being a therepon in a much needed and holy calling. Helping people in need (like Christ who came to help the sick not the well) to find their way home.