Volume 7, Issue 5 May 2013
Camping Out or Moving In
In today’s world, I’m guessing very few, if any, of us have never been through a move. In my adult life, no lie, I have moved more than 15 times. Most of these moves were early in our marriage, and due to job changes. Our last move, due to a job change, was seven years ago, and nothing in my life had prepared me for that move.
First, we were moving ourselves. Second, we had three children. Third, we had lived in the last house for over ten years. Imagine how many things can accumulate when you raise three children over a ten year span in one place. We saw toys, furniture, and appliances come and go during that period. Okay, mostly come and stay.
The 500 mile move taught me a great deal. We had sold a lot of furniture, but moving to an area as expensive as Atlanta, our house is much smaller and a lot just didn’t fit, or didn’t have a place. You can only plan to a certain extent. Further, for the first time in ten years, I had to think every time I went out. I could get to the kids’ school, and I could get to the grocery store, but getting from the kids’ school to the grocery store took some major concentration.
But, this was our new home. I was determined to learn all I could about the area and make our house into a home. So I got busy creating a home. We bought furniture and finally began using our once-empty family room. I spent an entire morning figuring out what cabinets best fit cereal boxes and what shelves in the pantry could handle two cans of stacked soup. We unpacked books and decorations and moved furniture in circles until we found what worked best. We learned what was better about this house, what we missed about the last one, and how to make accommodations.
Now, please know that I was married to an Eagle Scout. Please know that, despite this, I don’t camp. Right after our move, our youngest decided to join Boy Scouts, taking his older brother on his journey. Suddenly, we were awash in uniforms, tents, and camping equipment. Camping equipment is fascinating. While items for my house are supposed to be functional and decorative, camping equipment has two goals—functional and light. That’s it. Does it work, and it is light enough to carry any distance?
What a difference! While I’m creating an abode, my family is collecting things to be used temporarily. Ah, I see a great Scriptural correlation here:
Exodus 19:2 – After they set out from Rephidim, they entered the
Desert of Sinai, and Israel camped there in the desert in front of the
Camping suggests a temporary living situation—a temporary, impermanent, shelter called a tent; Lightweight plastic implements that can often be tossed when used; Small, lightweight appliances to be carried. I mean, I have a stove! It weighs far too much to be taken backpacking or even camping (there is a difference, I learned), but it cooks and bakes and simmers and anything else I need to do when cooking or baking. And it’s still there tomorrow, and with the flick of a wrist, I get heat.
It doesn’t work that way with camping. Camping is a temporary situation—for a night or two, maybe a week. We bring what we need, and take it all with us when we leave. You’ve heard the admonition—take only pictures, leave only footprints. That’s camping.
So, in our Christian walk, are we moving in or camping out? Do you want to come into the body of Christ, stay for a short while, and then pick up and move on? Do you want to hang out for a few days or nights at the most, see what it’s all about, and then move on to your next destination? I hope not!
When you come to Christ, the goal is that as He dwells in your heart, you start to look like Him. You come to Him so completely, with your mind, mouth, and heart, that you move in completely. You redecorate your home with Christian art. Your bookshelves now reflect the new man you are in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Your shopping habits may even change—where once you bought cigarettes and alcohol, you may be purchasing more fruit and veggies, because your body is a temple (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Your time is spent differently. You no longer spend Sunday morning at the Church of the Mattress, as I once heard it called by a student. Your Wednesday nights are full! You get up early to spend time in prayer and study. Weekends that were once filled with parties are now filled with something called fellowship—still parties, but with a common purpose. Every discussion isn’t about Christ and Salvation, but He’s there for every conversation.
Work is suddenly better, because you’re seeing the big picture. Galatians 6:9 says, “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we do not grow faint,” and it suddenly makes sense! Family and friend relationships are improving, because you’re doing all things without complaining or arguing (Philippians 2:14), and having nothing to do with stupid and petty arguments (2 Timothy 2:23). You’re really caring about others, and listen to others, and want what’s best for others, and they sense it in you, and respond to it.
Do you see, can you appreciate, the difference between moving in and camping out? One is long-term, one is short term. One uses substantial furniture and appliances, one uses foldable furniture and gadgets that can be carried and stowed. One will lead you to eternal life, the other to eternal damnation. One will give you a forever friend who will see you through every joy and challenge, one will leave you bereft and alone.
Come on, dear Saints. Build your house on the rock and move into a mansion with thousands like me. Don’t just camp out.
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