A pilgrim with a purpose

Published 2:42 pm Thursday, March 10, 2022

When we think of pilgrims, the first images that come to mind are Thanksgiving and the Mayflower. However, the definition of a pilgrim is a person who journeys to a sacred place. The Bible makes it clear that the children of God are pilgrims. We are only passing through this life on our journey towards Heaven. We are not meant to stay. Hebrews 11:13-14 states, “These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country.” We are strangers here on this earth. Our citizenship is in Heaven.
When people see and hear us, they should immediately notice a difference. We should leave people scratching their heads and saying, “You can tell they aren’t from around here!” They should notice a positive difference in all we say and do. When others complain and grumble, they should find the children of God thankful and praising their Father. We should be encouragers filled with love and compassion. If I went to a foreign country, I would stick out like a sore thumb based on my accent and appearance. The native people could immediately see and hear a difference. They would know that I was a foreigner. Those who follow Christ are foreigners here on this earth. Our attitudes, likes, wants, opinions, and lifestyles should be much different than those who do not have a relationship with Christ. Nevertheless, this is often not the case.
Jesus said in John 18:36, “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.” Jesus was also not of this world, and he came only to this world to fulfill the plan of salvation for His Father. His plan was to live a sinless life and sacrifice himself on the cross of Calvary. He was a pilgrim with a distinct purpose. We also have a purpose. Our purpose is to follow Christ and while we are following to lead others to follow also. We must take the message of Jesus Christ out into the world, wherever we find ourselves on a daily basis.
Jonathan Edwards has a wonderful sermon titled, “The Christian Pilgrim.” He wrote, “God is the highest good of the reasonable creature; and the enjoyment of him is the only happiness with which our souls can be satisfied. To go to heaven, fully to enjoy God, is infinitely better than the most pleasant accommodations here. Fathers and mothers, husbands, wives, or children, or the company of earthly friends, are but shadows; but the enjoyment of God is the substance. These are but scattered beams; but God is the sun. These are but streams; but God is the fountain. These are but drops; but God is the ocean. — Therefore it becomes us to spend this life only as a journey towards heaven, as it becomes us to make the seeking of our highest end and proper good, the whole work of our lives; to which we should subordinate all other concerns of life. Why should we labor for, or set our hearts on, anything else, but that which is our proper end, and true happiness?” We are on a journey towards Heaven and our purpose is to persuade as many individuals as possible to join us on this pilgrimage.
(Brandon Young is pastor of Harmony Free Will Baptist Church, Hampton)

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