Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. (Philippians 3:12-15 ESV).
Tomorrow the movers will come to begin the process of packing, separating, and moving. I am “wistful.” I like that word. The Oxford Dictionary defines this word as “having or showing a feeling of vague or regretful longing.” There are some good synonyms listed as well: nostalgic, yearning, longing, plaintive, regretful, or rueful. I think the Apostle Paul was feeling this way as he wrote to the believers in Philippi the words of our reading this morning. He knew what he was doing was exactly what the Lord had directed him to do; but, he had other feelings as well.
I certainly cannot compare my situation to the Apostle Paul. But the principle remains the same. Whenever any of us begin to look at the things of our present, anticipating the future, it is so easy to become microscopic. For the next six months we will be living with some of things in storage and other things in a small apartment. It is not an experience completely foreign to us. After seminary Mary and I lived in Nacogdoches, Texas, for a few months as we trained for our permanent position in Tyler, Texas. Those were “exciting” days! Everything seemed so temporary. Mary was pregnant with Kyle and her doctor was temporary. I was in training, so I was temporary. Most of our belongings were in storage, so we lived in a temporary setting with temporary stuff.
But, it was fun. We made friends that lasted. We did ministry that carried on for years to come. We learned the principles of life that would last to this day. We were able to “press on.” Again we are being directed to press on. I will need to remind myself tomorrow and the next day when we actually drive away that what we leave behind is not the house or the stuff. That is only temporary and fleetingly so. Fortunately we will still live in the area for six more months, so we have time to relish the friendships we have made, minister to those who have come into our path, and make new relationships yet unknown to us. In all of this I can be absolutely certain that even when we get to Texas that will not be our final move. The prize of the high calling of Christ, eternal life in all of its glory awaits! And, there is no need to pack any boxes for that move. They have already been packed and sent ahead. Jesus has prepared a place just for us in glory. His promise is to come and get us when it is finished. Now that’s a move that will be worth it all! Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you (v. 15).
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