Tent Living

As I near the anniversary of my move-in date to my current residence, I realize that four years is a long time—it is for someone who rarely stayed more than two or three years in the same house. That could be why my heart’s been restless lately. I’ve acquired the learned ability to change and move, because I follow the one who had “no place to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20).

This nomadic tendency has long been a part of those chosen by God. From the time of our forefather Abraham, his people have been on the move, pulling up stakes and traveling as Yahweh guided. Even when God told the exiles to “build houses and settle down,” they were well aware that they were on borrowed time, as the span of their Babylonian captivity was predetermined and limited at seventy years.

No chance to leave a legacy in Babylon.

Continuing with Old Testament prophets, we see them traveling and living as the Lord directed; going to places many times for a specific purpose. Even when Jonah tried to go the opposite direction, the Lord provided a big fish to get him turned around.

Though under occupation, the Jews finally felt they were home, done with exiles and judgment—then here comes Jesus, the Author of Creation holding lightly to that which he had made. Even he made moves not of his own making, while still in his mother’s womb and within a year or so after his birth. Those moves were a sign of things to come as he began his ministry.

The One who could have demanded an audience wherever he stood, chose instead to go out to where they were, as a shepherd searching for that lost sheep.

Are we too settled in our service to the Master? Do we, in our churches, sit on the pews and expect the lost to come to us, or are we getting outside the walls and going to the places no one else will go, to reach those he’s calling to himself?

One of the hardest things in overseas service is acceptance of our need to hold lightly to the sense of place. Even a rented apartment can become an idol of settling, when we keep the door closed to others or refuse to get outside for visits.

Tents are accessible abodes and are easily packed up for relocation.

God’s not asking us to live in a literal tent (well, maybe some of you, he is), but he is asking us to think of our homes, no matter the size or kind, if we rent or own, as a temporary dwelling. Our homes should be places where, not only do we live, raise families, and invite guests, but where God dwells and reigns.

Is God tabernacling in your tent?

If he is, people will sense it immediately upon entering, for where God is, there is peace. If you’re holding tight to your home because you can’t share your stuff or space with others, then it’s time to invite God in, allowing him to take over and helping you to let go.

If your house is standing in the way of ministry, then it’s time to let go of the house. If ownership of a home is preventing you from picking up and moving in obedience to the Father’s will, then it’s time to sell.

Whether you live in your home for six months or thirty years is not the issue. The question is: Is my home my safe haven or ministry station? Am I the master of my house or God? If he asked me to leave it tomorrow, would I say yes?

May your home be the place where God’s presence rules supreme, where people find an open door of welcome, and where you lay your head in peace until he says, “move on, child.”

After all, we’re living on this earth on borrowed time. No earthly legacies required.

Grace and Peace


2 thoughts on “Tent Living

  1. Amen. Tents have been a key image for me in this journey with Him. Thankful He knows the way ahead and every stop along the path.

Leave a Reply to carolghattas Cancel reply