It's PEOPLE!! It's PEOPLE!!
We've been blessed to travel a bit, and see quite a bit of the world. Of course, there's a whole lot of world out there to see, and we'll hardly ever scratch the surface. But, nonetheless, we've been to a few places of note.
When Peg first incurred breast cancer, in the early 90's, we decided that we'd best be going away together regularly, as there's no use waiting for "some day", when the doctor's said "cancer" to you. As it happens, we were married on March 13th .. yes, Friday, which has been an immense source of fun for us .. and Peg's birthday is March 20th. So, we can take that week off and catch both, and that's what we did for many years.
Those vacations took us to Costa Rica, St. Thomas, St. Martin (and Ste. Maarten .. the Dutch half of the island), Germany, Cancun, and Jamaica. Plus some others I can't think of right now.
Also, as an insurance agent, insurers are always awarding trips for stellar production and performance, and those took us to Hong Kong (with side trips to Red China and Portuguese Macau) and Monte Carlo (with side trips into France). And then, plain business trips led me to London every year, plus traveling to over 40 states, Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico on business.
Lastly, cruises have added another 3 or 4 countries, and mission trips got me to Nassau, Russia, and Latvia.
We now find ourselves in a curious position on two fronts. Having seen lots of really swell places to be, we really could sell the house .. it's paid for .. and move pretty much anywhere it's nice to live, if we wanted to. Plus, we have about a bazillion airmiles built up via our credit card, so we could take off on a vacation whenever we want, and pretty much go anywhere, including any of those really nifty places like the one in the photo above.
But we don't. In fact, of all the places we've been, there are only a couple I'd even be interested in going back to. One is Jamaica, and the other might be Germany.
Reason? We have friends there. Particularly in Jamaica, where we have friendships going back nearly 20 years, with people whose lives have been impacted by ours, and vice versa. And not to Montego Bay or Ocho Rios, either (although they might be nice to spend a day at) .. but to Kingston, where our friends are. Even though it's the murder capital of the Western Hemisphere.
There's a Spiritual overtone to all this, too. I don't think I'm going to long for St. Martin's beaches, Alaska's glaciers, or France's Alps, in heaven. I doubt I'll miss the quaint charm of the delightful English village of Oakington, the precision of the Munich train system, or the majestic sweep of Hong Kong Harbor, seen from Victoria Peak.
But the people ... well, that's another matter. I'm going to enjoy spending time with them in Glory. That's where my investment in them .. and theirs in me .. will pay dividends that last an eternity.
Isn't that the case with all God's children? And in light of that, shouldn't the very fact of their status as a child of God and a joint heir with both Jesus, and the rest of us who follow King Jesus, govern all we do or say to or about them?
I see entirely too much scheming, secrecy, and acrimony amongst church folks, which includes pretty much SBC'ers, for the last 30+ years now.
God wants us to serve Him. Paul Burleson has done some excellent writing on that in the past few days. But Jesus said we're to let all we do be governed by His sort of love, one for another. And we seem to be falling a tad short in that area.
In the end, when the heavens and earth pass away "with a fervent heat", people are all that'll be left of what we see now. Perhaps that should concern us above temperature, sea level, atmosphere, and whales. If we don't get that right, why would God even want to use us?
It's about people. The very ones that God created all the rest of this stuff for.