I was privileged to do a number of funerals with a preaching legend in the last few years of his life. I will never forget his words as he preached the funeral for one of his best friends and fishing buddies. Reuel said, “There comes a time in every great warrior’s life when he has earned the right to lay down his armor and go home.”

While these words were very appropriate for Reuel’s friend who had overcome cancer and battled through many difficult circumstances, they were also very autobiographical. When he passed away several years later, I recalled the words Reuel had spoken. Heaven was not an abstract wish for Reuel and his buddy; it was an anticipated destination. As the two old saints looked at their future, they looked forward to going home.

Over the last several decades, songs about heaven and sermons about heaven had almost disappeared until a few years ago. Little by little, we are re-awakening to the hope that has sustained so many who have gone before us.

I fear we had grown so focused on making our home here in the present world, that we lost sight of the world to come. Our passion wasn’t heaven, but living life here on earth. With the temptations of affluence, the incessant blaring seductions of commercials, and our human desire to be like and to have what our neighbors have, we tried to make our own little heaven here on earth. We forgot the truth of the old hymn “This World is Not My Home.” The first verse goes this way:

Our home is not here on earth.

This world is not my home,I’m just a passing thru.My treasures are laid up some where beyond the blue;The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door,And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.O Lord, You know I have no friend like you,If heaven’s not my home then Lord what will I do;The angels beckon me from heaven’s open door,And I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.

Jesus reminded his first followers that they needed to make sure their treasure was in heaven, because their hearts would be where their treasure was. (Matthew 6:19-21) As he faced the last few moments with his followers, Jesus reminded them that their true home wasn’t on earth. He promised them that he was going to prepare a home for them and would return to bring them to this home. (John 14:1-4) He told them, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 NLT)

We need to remember these truths, too. Our home is not here on earth; our true home is heaven. (Philippians 3:20-21) So how should we live? Paul tells Timothy to teach folks to live this way:

They should be rich in good works and should give generously to those in need, always being ready to share with others whatever God has given them. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may take hold of real life. (1 Timothy 6:18-19 NLT)

Did you notice those last two words? Real life! Real life in our true home awaits us. Jesus is there waiting to welcome us home. Let's not get so addicted and distracted by our current world that we forget that it is just preparation for the real one ... the eternal one ... our true home.