Homesick is only possible if we have already experienced the kingdom of God. If we do not know what the kingdom of God is like, we cannot long for it. Jesus made it clear to us that we can experience the kingdom of God already in this earthly life:
„Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, "The kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed, nor will they say, 'Look, here it is!' or 'There!' for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you."”
Which country were we born in? We were born into this world in a physical sense, but we can be born again in spirit, and only then can we see the kingdom of God:
„There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.”
So we can look at the kingdom of God already in this worldly life, and we can even be partakers of it. But as secular nations have laws, so also the kingdom of God. So if we do not live according to the laws of that secular country, then the country applies its own method of punishment over the transgressions of the law. It is no different with the kingdom of God, God has given the laws of His kingdom, and if we want to be its citizens, we must keep them.
But how do we know which country we are citizens of? Jesus makes it clear:
„"Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
Those who sow in this world will reap in this world as well. We don’t have to think specifically about material things because there are more affluent brothers who are rich but don’t have hearts in them. There can be several types of treasure, such as building a career, starting a family, completing studies, living in old age. These in themselves are blessings and great things. But if even one of these is connected to this world, it becomes a sin. For example, attitudes like, "I hope the Lord isn't coming back yet because I still want to get married!" Or, "surely God understands that I have yet to finish my studies and I don't have time to deal with His will!" Let us see people with this attitude in Jesus' parable:
„He said also to the man who had invited him, "When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just." When one of those who reclined at table with him heard these things, he said to him, "Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!" But he said to him, "A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, 'Come, for everything is now ready.' But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.' And another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.' And another said, 'I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.' So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, 'Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.' And the servant said, 'Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.' And the master said to the servant, 'Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.'"”
They dealt with their own things, their own desires, not their calling. Pay particular attention to the last sentence:
„For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.”
Jesus said that those invited people would not taste the banquet, who didn’t answer the call. So there are invited people take part of the banquet too. Keep in mind the last sentence of the verse, and now let’s jump back a bit in the verse. This is what someone said to Jesus before the parable:
„Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”
The parable was concluded by Jesus in such a way that those who lived by their own will, would not eat from His banquet. It is also a clear message that if one lives his own life and does not live according to God’s will, he does not eat from banquet:
„For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised.”
It is the love of Jesus that we no longer live for ourselves, but for Him! This is why we need to confess our love for God not with our mouths, but in our actions. Now let’s realize the importance of banquet. This means more than just a meal, but a community:
„Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
One table, one house, one food. What was Jesus' food?
„Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, "Rabbi, eat." But he said to them, "I have food to eat that you do not know about." So the disciples said to one another, "Has anyone brought him something to eat?" Jesus said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.”
The act of the will of the Father was the food of Jesus. And what is our food? Same as Jesus' food? Let's read Paul's homesick:
„For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.”
Paul did not have a problem with breaking away from the world, but as we read, he wanted to prove useful to others, he wanted to be a blessing. He was able to give up his own desire, his own joy, so that others could have joy. This is exemplary in all respects.
Author: Antal Farkas