Now I am going to him who sent me.... John 16:5
American poet Edgar Albert Guest wrote, “It takes a heap of livin’ to make a house a home.” That’s another way of saying there is a tremendous difference between a house and a home. You may have visited some of the mansions of the great such as Buckingham Palace in London, or Holyrood House in Edinburgh, or Hearst Castle in Northern California. They are interesting to look at, and we are fascinated by those who live in them, but the average person would say, “No thanks! I’d prefer where I live right now.” Why? Most mansions and castles are not very user-friendly.
A friend of mine took me through his newly acquired 12-bedroom home furnished with a splendor that rivals European castles. It has a pool, a beautiful atrium adjacent to the kitchen, and--yes, I already said it--12 bedrooms. He explained, “Every three months my wife changes our bedroom to another one in the house.” Think of it, men. Kick your shoes off under the bed and forget them, and it is likely to be three years before you rediscover them.
“Does this seem like home to you?” I asked, out of the wife’s hearing. “No,” he replied, “it seems more like a furniture store.”
What makes a house a home? It’s your family, the ones you love with all of their faults and failures, your own flesh and blood. It’s the love that is there because you belong to each other. “Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home,” right?
When Jesus was about to walk back the pearly staircase to heaven at the end of His life here on earth, He opened His heart and spoke to the disciples about what was ahead. He spoke of “my father’s house” and going to prepare a dwelling place for His own. “In my Father’s house,” He said, “are many mansions” or dwelling places.
He explained that He was going there so that “where I am” (to use His own words) “there you may be also.” Years ago, a man whose ministry touched several continents for God, Dwight L. Moody, was busy preparing a message when his son, then a boy, came into the study where the father was working and sat down to play on the floor. Moody somewhat gruffly looked down at the lad and ask, “What is it that you want, Todd?” And the boy replied, “I don’t want anything Daddy; I just wanted to be where you are.”
That does more to explain what heaven will be like than about anything I can think of--being in the presence of the Father for all eternity. Abraham Lincoln once wrote, “Going home is the end of all journeys. Did it ever occur to you that every living creature has its home? The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field and forest, the creepers in the grass, all go home. Most of them turn towards it when the day wanes. The call of home is the one voice heard and respected all the way down the line of life.... There must be another home somewhere to go to after we have broken camp down here. Going home! It’s the end of all journeys. It’s the one miraculous gift--the one call that‘s irresistible.”
When I first began my work as a young man, my wife and I traveled extensively, but in the lining of the old brown Samsonite suitcase that we used, I took the key to my house and pinned it with a safety pin so it could not get lost. Someway it gave me comfort to know that when I finally got home, I had the key which would unlock the door.
Jesus said that He was the key which unlocked the door at the Father’s home we call heaven. “I am the way and the truth and the life,” He said, adding, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). By the way, do you have the key in your suitcase?
Resource reading: John 15:1-17