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The Gospel in Real Estate Terms

“This world is not my home, I’m only passing through…”

So goes the old Gospel hymn.

Boy, did it ever take me a long time to even try liking Gospel-style music. As a musician in my twenties, I liked the Gospel harmonies, but it was a bit too corny for me.

Ok, a lot corny.

I admit I was not used to the twangy-ness of the style. I was raised on the Lutheran hymnal. You know; strong straight beats, flowing melodic lines reaching up to heaven, pedagogic lyrics that exalted the great doctrines of the Christian faith! That was spiritual music to my ears.

Oh yeah, and funk and disco of the ’70s.

But funk and disco weren’t mainstays of church music at the time. Au contraire, in many church circles of the day, they were regarded as products of hell. But they had a good beat, and you could dance to ‘em.

Then I moved to South Carolina to work at a Christian television station. Greenville’s WGGS-TV hosted a nightly talk show interspersed with live Gospel groups. Wow! Was that ever an ear-opener! I was exposed to Gospel groups large and small, famous and obscure, polished and, well, not so polished.

But they all seemed to have the same twangy sound. However, after a while it wasn’t as bad as before. Either Gospel music was changing, or I was, or both.

When I finally gave Gospel music a fair hearing, I realized it was pretty good in its own right. I realized it wasn’t right to judge it according to my restricted musical boundaries. I needed to open those boundaries wider to appreciate it as it is. (And isn’t that a biblical lesson on loving people who are different from us? But I digress.)

I found that many Gospel songs had as equally solid Bible doctrine as the traditional hymns of Christendom, just not as lofty and poetic in my musical opinion.

This World Is Not My Home is one such Gospel hymn. It was written in 1936 by Albert E. Brumley. According to his bio, “He wrote over 800 Gospel and other songs during his life; the Country Song Writers Hall of Fame inducted him in 1970.” (Bio) Eight hundred? That’s a lot of musical love for Jesus! Here is the first stanza:

This world is not my home, I'm just passing through,

My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue,

The angels beckon me from Heaven's open door,

And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.

If you want, you can hear Jim Reeves’ 1962 version here (Listen) or an updated version by Ricky Skaggs here (Listen) or the classic Gaither and Statler Brothers versions here (Listen) and here (Listen)

In my search for the song, I found a beautiful cover by Rainy Johnson (Listen) Wow!

And to show you what wide musical boundaries I have, I present to you two version in completely different styles: Al Hirt’s New Orleans Jazz (Listen) and in honor of my friend, Bob Haldeman, an accordion version (Listen) Enjoy, Bob! (FYI, I’m giving him a poke. He HATES the accordion!)

So why, do you ask, am I so fixated on this Gospel tune? Because I’m in the middle of a major change in my life.

No, I’m not self-identifying as a platypus, although that would be celebrated by the Left.

My wife and I are moving to Florida! That’s along with some 1,000 people a day now. Obviously, Florida is a very desirable place.

As of this writing, we’re in the midst of the exhilarating and extremely challenging (read stressful) process of selling a home, buying a home, and then closing on both from opposite north-south border states of the Union.

And that got me thinking.

The Real Estate experience echoes the Gospel.

No, not cries for God’s help, although that’s definitely a part of our moving process right now. It’s that the moving from one home to another is an illustration of our new life with God after we’re born-again.

Let’s take a moment to think about this.

Being “unsaved” is like owning a home. Our heart, soul, and resources are attached to our “house,” i.e. this world. When we put a home up for sale and receive an offer, that begins the process of being permanently freed from that house. Biblically speaking, when we accept our Heavenly Father’s offer to relocate to His kingdom (via salvation), we begin a similar process of being completely set free from the world that’s passing away (John 1:12; 1 John 2:17).

According to our current Minnesota home purchase agreement, I’m surrendering my house and walking away from it. The way I’m experiencing it now, I feel like I’m “in” the house, not “of” it. Although I’m still a resident of the home, I’m finding myself increasingly detached from it. It’s beginning to feel as if “(That place) is not my home, I’m only passing through.”

Likewise, when we’re saved, we surrender our attachment to this world and are to regard ourselves as having walked away from it. But not in an isolationist, monastery way. We are still in the world, but not of it (John 15:19; 17:14-16). See? Connection to the Gospel song.

Now I’m seeking my new home (mine by faith and not by sight, yet) in God’s land, Florida. When we finally sign the contract to lock in our new home, God willing, it will be assured to us, even though we haven’t taken possession of it. We will anticipate our new home because of a legally binding promise.

Through a legally binding spiritual transaction, I can surrender any claim to this world and any attachment I may have to it. I can now claim my future home with the Lord through that same legal contract even though I haven’t “taken full possession” of it yet.

When does the whole temporal house-exchange process complete? At the closing, when I will have absolutely no connection with my previous home and life and am in complete possession of my new home with my new life.

When will our personal, spiritual “house-exchange” process complete? At the close of our current life, Christian, either at death or at Jesus’ return.

Yup. The Gospel in real estate terms.

That Gospel song has been reverberating through my head for days!

Jeanne and I are “homeless” and yet have a home by faith. Our realtors (Mike in Minnesota and Larry in Florida) are completing the transactions and making the move possible right now.

“Homeless.” That’s the Christian’s experience in this present age. We have cut ties with this world as our home to anticipate our future home with the Lord. He’s with us now and in the end, He’ll walk us through the door of our new place.

“So we are always confident and know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord. For we walk by faith, not by sight. In fact, we are confident, and we would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 5:6-8).

Just as I prefer being in Florida rather than Minnesota, so we Jesus-followers would prefer to be with the Lord rather than attached to in this world, or at least we should be.

For Christians, life is like living between two homes. All we’re waiting for is the closing when we’ll not only be with Him, but we’ll have a “custom-built home” (body) to live in for an eternity with Jesus.

This world is not my home I'm just passing through,

My treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue,

The angels beckon me from Heaven's open door,

And I can't feel at home in this world anymore.

Jeanne and I will be returning to our house in Minnesota soon, but now it won’t feel like home. I’m already disconnecting emotionally. I’m ready for a new adventure.

And here’s where the analogy breaks down.

When I go to be with the Lord, over there or in the air, I won’t have to move a darn thing!

Thank God!

Pastor Jay Christianson

The Truth Barista, Frothy Thoughts


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