Daily Devotional “Pilgrim or Tourist?”

Daily Devotional
Be different!
September 1, 2022

When I was growing up, we used to visit my Uncle Ted’s ranch in Tie Siding, Wyoming.

What an adventure! It was a real working cattle ranch with plenty of chores for young Maryland cowgirls. My sisters and I even had a part in branding some of the calves.

Uncle Ted put me on a big old, retired workhorse. It was my job to keep the cows corralled at one end of the arena while at the other end the cowboys would use their cutting horses to single out calves for branding.

Even though my horse and I just stood there most of the time, watching all the action across the way, I still felt as though I had a special job minding those cows.

Because my Uncle Ted’s ranch was situated near Laramie, tourists would often come by to take a look at what a real cattle ranch was all about.

They would stand at a polite distance, casually observing all the goings-on, occasionally pointing, or pulling out their cameras.

I was just a little tyke then, but I can remember straightening my cowboy hat and sitting up in my saddle to pose for snapshots – as though I were a permanent fixture around the place. It never occurred to me back then that I was just passing through like those tourists – that I was only going to be at the ranch a short time.

Yet even though Uncle Ted’s was not my permanent place of residence, I got a lot more involved than the average tourist. For a short time at least, I was part of a working ranch.

It’s been years since I’ve visited Tie Siding. But to this day I’ve resisted the label of “tourist.” Whenever I visit places around the world, I’m not satisfied to stand at a distance snapping pictures. I like to get involved.

To do things. To talk with people who live in the area. To learn about customs. I don’t want to be considered a tourist with funny clothes and a selfie stick. I want to be part of things.

As a Christian living out the kingdom of God down here on earth, I feel the same way. True, the Bible tells us we are to be pilgrims on this planet. That is, we must not mistake this world for home.

But I don’t think Scripture encourages us to be mere “tourists” either – casually observing all the goings-on around us at a polite, safe distance.

“You are the salt of the earth,” Jesus told us in Matthew 5:13. “You are the light of the world” (v. 14).

God wants us to get involved, to rub shoulders with folks around us, even though we’re only going to be here for a season. We’ve got work to do here – and only a short time to do it.

Do you consider yourself a pilgrim when it comes to living out the life of Christ? Or are you more like a tourist, staying arm’s length from any kind of serious involvement in your church, neighborhood, and community?

There are too many tourists crowding their way through life already. God doesn’t want any more spectators.

He needs pilgrims, sober-minded and serious, who will make their impact for him on their way through this life and into the next.

So put your camera away and climb on a horse, pardner. There’s room in the corral for you.

The Glorious Pursuit
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.

Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

1 Peter 2:11-12

[Jesus] looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father…As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.”

JOHN 17:1, & 18

God calls us to hold tightly to his hand, and with that firm grasp to throw ourselves into loving ministry to others. He loves to intrude into the lives of hurting, needy people around us…through our kind words and actions. He also loves to see us sharpen one another as we nudge each other closer toward holy living. What opportunities has he laid before you?

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