“These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland.” Hebrews 11:13-14 ESV
Growing older is a matter of perspective.
The traditional human perspective is this: Each year when our birthdays come we count up from the day we were born, marking the number of years that have gone by. We look back with nostalgia at the life we have lived and realize we are moving closer to the end of our earthly days.
But the Christian perspective adds a twist: Our birthdays are also an occasion to count down to the day we finally arrive home, longing for the day we meet Jesus. We look forward to the future life we have been promised and realize we are moving closer to the beginning of our heavenly days.
It is less about getting farther away from the day we were born and more about getting closer to the final destination of our life’s journey. We are seeking our true homeland and every year brings us closer to our glorious arrival.
Like the batter in baseball, we are running the bases as we head for home. Some of us are just reaching first base. Some are rounding second. Others have already passed third. Wherever we are, we know this for sure: one day we will slide safely into home.
Those with faith in Christ do not fear heading for home. They enjoy life now and they eagerly anticipate the better life to come. Because their hope is in Jesus, they know how to live well and die well.
“In 1631, Robert Bruce (1554-1631) was sentenced to death for preaching the gospel. On the morning of his execution, his daughter cooked him an egg for breakfast. It was his request. It was so nice, he said, that he almost asked his daughter to cook him another one. Then he paused and said to her, ‘I breakfasted with you this morning. I’ll have supper with Jesus tonight.'” (Derek Thomas, How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home, pp. 38-39)
Growing older is about heading for home to “have supper with Jesus.” Reservations are made, the table is set, and the Master of the house is waiting. We’re getting closer to that day when we will feast with our Savior in the place He has prepared for us. With eyes of faith, Christians long for this home they have never seen. And God is not ashamed to be their God.
“But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” Hebrews 11:16 ESV