“And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may also be. And you know the way to where I am going.”-John 14:3-4
Jesus was leaving, but he was also coming back. His disciples could not clearly see God’s plan for redemption; they had only heard that he was leaving. For those of us who grew up in the West in the last 100 years, we don’t have a great sense of someone going on ahead to prepare a place, but generations past knew. A father would leave his wife and children behind while he went on to establish a job and a home. Although the immediate loss was difficult and painful, the future home offered so much more promise.
Yet don’t miss one detail here. Jesus did not say to them “I will come again and take you to my home,” even though he was telling them about his Father’s house. Rather, he told them, “I will take you to myself.” Jesus knew that their deepest longing was for him, not stuff.
If we are honest with ourselves, many of us like things—nice cars, large libraries, or beautiful homes—but material possessions do not fulfill our deepest need. We are tempted to chase after second thing blessings, but when we place our hope in those things, we are left wanting more. C.S. Lewis said, “Put first things first and we get second things thrown in: put second things first & we lose both first and second things” (2007, p. 111).
What we all most deeply desire is relationship: First, union with Christ, and second, though no less important, relationship with others, which is why in the Father’s house, the value is not in the stuff, but the people who are there.
Jesus, I am so often out of touch with my deepest desire, which is relationship with you. I chase after many other things, hoping for fulfillment, but stuff never satisfies. You never promised stuff; you promised yourself. Help me to rest in the reality of my union with you. Amen.