Not so long ago Amy, the boys and I headed “home” to visit my family. Due to a rather demanding summer I had not been home to visit my daddy since last May. Keep in mind that they are only just over an hour’s drive away. A visit was long overdue and greatly welcomed. At supper we sat down to the usual bowls and dishes that we each contributed to feed the masses. One platter stood out – okra, fresh from the garden and fried to perfection. It was my brother Scott’s offering. I did not know he even knew how to cook. There are several good restaurants where you can eat fried okra and most of them do a commendable job. Nothing, however, compares to homegrown okra fried the old-fashion way. It tasted like home.
I thought about this a few days later when I was kneading dough in preparation for cinnamon rolls I would bake on the first day of school. The dough recipe I use is the one my grandmother shared with me when I left for seminary. Her sour dough bread was a parting gift to me when I would head back to college. In seminary I learned to bake it so that no matter how far away I lived, I could always have something that tasted like home. Perhaps one day my boys will have families of their own and share with them cinnamon rolls or Amy’s sweet potato biscuits and their taste buds will remind them of what home is like.
What is it that tugs at your heart and calls you back home, even if it is in the fading confines of memory? The idea of home – even if it is just an idea and not a reality – is a place of stability; a place one goes to, if not literally then in memory. Home is a place we call hope and therefore home is for sending, such as going to work, to school, or to something new. Home is also a place of receiving, to be welcomed back and nourished. Home; it is a lovely thought, isn’t it?
I am convinced every human life longs for a place to call home; a place that can send you out ready to face the world and a place that will welcome you back when the world has you weary. Jesus modeled this with his own disciples in their travels. Capernaum was “home base” where lessons were taught, miracles occurred, and fellowship was enjoyed. Of course they did not stay there but quite often ventured out; down the River Jordan and all about and around Jerusalem. Home was not simply a place, but a belonging.
How is your faith a “home” to you? Is it a place that readies you for the challenges of family, school and work? Does your faith nourish you in a way that sustains you when the going gets tough and the demands compound? Is your faith a home for you when you cannot find the strength or the answers to go any further on your own? Many, indeed too many, have made their faith not a home, but an office for work or a retail store to consumer.
Jesus wants something more than our frentic work that seeks to prove worth by busyness. Certainly to be a follower is also more than just “customizing” the beliefs to suit our own whims. No, I believe what Jesus wants more than anything is a relationship that sustains, rejuvenates, authorizes, and commissions.
Come home and on your way home you will find the table spread by other members of the family who search, and seek and serve. Also I encourage you to see you can better prepare your own home to be a place of receiving as well as sending. Your family needs this and your faith deserves this.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” (Jesus, Matthew 11:28)