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F cus Family Matters ROY HEGGLAND

M

ost of us have heard stories about self-sacrificing fathers, sons, mothers or daughters – people who came to America from foreign lands in order to earn money to send back home to support their loved ones. Perhaps someone in your own family was one of those who came here for the benefit of the families that they left behind, far away. In some ways, those who sacrificed for their families lived as exiles for a time. They were concerned with sending treasure back “home,” rather than building something here in America. Hebrews 11:13 says this of the saints in the Old Testament era: “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 earth” (ESV). Hebrews 13:14 says this of the Church: “For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.” The question is not whether as believers

we are exiles here on earth — we are! The question is whether we live like exiles whose citizenship is in heaven, or whether we live as though we are citizens of a city made with hands on this earth. Jesus put it this way in Matthew 6:1921, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasure on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves come in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” In this season of Advent we look forward to the Christmas celebration of the coming of the incarnate Jesus. We also anticipate Christ’s return to take us to our homeland, the place of our citizenship. Our faith is the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1, ESV). We are looking for the “city that is to come” – the one that we have already inherited as children of God through the death and resurrection of his Son, the place

that God has been preparing for us since Christ’s ascension. What does all of this have to do with stewardship? Everything! If our home and treasure are here on this earth, then stewardship is heard as an empty call. We are asked to give away our resources, meaning we have less with which to build our own earthly kingdom. If, however, we recognize that our home is with Christ and he is our treasure, then stewardship becomes a loving call to lay up treasures in Christ, the one who has captured our hearts. We will view stewardship as the natural result of the hope we have that one day “we shall be like him for we shall see him as he is. Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure” (1 John 3:2-3). Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his wonderful face, and the things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of his glory and grace! Roy Heggland serves the CLB as Associate for Biblical Stewardship.

Received as of Sept. 30, 2011 CLB Mission Statement: In response to God’s person and grace, we worship him with everything we are in Christ, serve one another in Christian love and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ will all people. CLB Vision Statement: We see God stirring in our church a fresh passion to reach beyond our own comfort to all people among whom God places us. We embrace God’s mission to bring the life changing Gospel to unreached people in Asia and Africa, and we sense God convicting us to more intentionally reach out to people who live in our midst in North America as well. Family Matters: We ask that you prayerfully consider partnering with us as we seek, with God’s help, to proclaim the good news we have been given to the ends of the earth.

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Whether we think of The Great Tribulation or our own personal or family tribulations, the Word of God offers hope. This hope is related spec...

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