‘Willing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.’ 2 Corinthians 5:8
Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 11:8–16
You are a child: he is not a loving child that does not wish to see his father’s face. How some of us used to long for the holidays! We used to make a little almanac, and put down the days, and mark them off one by one. Six weeks before the time we would begin to count how many days there were, and every morning we would say there was one day the less before we went home. Either he is a bad child, or he has got a bad father, that does not want to go home. Now, we have got a good and blessed Father, and I hope he has made us his true children, and we want to see his face; we long for the time when we shall no longer be under tutors and governors, but shall come home to enjoy the inheritance. Brethren, we are also labourers. It would be a strange thing if the labourer did not wish to achieve the end of his toils. It would indeed be a strange thing if, industrious though he be, he did not prefer the end of his toils to the beginning. It would be contrary to nature, and I think contrary to grace, if the husbandman did not long for the harvest, and if he that toils did not desire to receive the reward. We are not only labourers, brethren, but mariners—mariners that are often tempest-tossed; the sails are rent to ribbons; the timbers are creaking; the ship drives along before the blast—who does not want to get into port? Which man among you does not desire to say, ‘See, the harbour is near; lo, the red lights’? Who among you would not wish to cast anchor now, and say, ‘I have passed the floods, and now I am come to my desired haven’? Brethren, we are not only mariners but pilgrims—pilgrims of the weary foot, having here no continuing city. Who does not want to get to his home?
For meditation: As God’s children Christians can look forward to heaven as the place to enjoy their Father’s perfect company (John 17:24; 1 John 3:1–2); as God’s servants, they can anticipate their Master’s rewards for their labours (Ephesians 6:5–9; Revelation 14:13).
Sermon no. 413
11 August (1861)