People Who Say Such Things: Set Their Hearts on Pilgrimage

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February 20, 2020

Psalm 84:5 (NIV)

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

CONSIDER THIS

This, people, is what we want to say:

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

People who say such things have left the building, joined the movement, and they aren’t turning back. In the end, there are two kinds of people in life: pilgrims and tourists. Tourists take vacations to escape their predictable and often monotonous lives. Don’t hear me wrong. Vacations aren’t the problem. Pilgrims take vacations too. The difference? The minute one vacation is over, the tourist starts planning and living for the next one. Pilgrims need R & R (rest and relaxation for you readers in the majority world who aren’t familiar with our American ways). Tourists live for it. 

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

The tourist is always looking for the next “experience.” Will it be Disney World or a river cruise? The pilgrim ever prepares for the next “assignment.” Will it be reaching out to a young couple whose marriage is in trouble or helping a homeless family get a roof over their heads. The tourist tends to categorize life into family, work, and leisure. The Christian tourist adds a fourth category: faith—which gets translated into “church.” The pilgrim moves seamlessly between family, work, and leisure. Church ceased to be a category somewhere along the way, stopped being a place, and became translated into “faith.” 

The tourist turns to God when in trouble, trial or hardship. They need God to give them strength. Faith is a resource when other resources fail. The pilgrim is a faith-filled seeker in all things and at all times. Their strength is in God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Their heart is set on pilgrimage. God doesn’t so much give them strength. God is their strength. 

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

The tourist is ever exploring the sites and stories of history, watching someone else’s big game, and escaping into the next experience. The pilgrim is making history; albeit quietly and most often unknowingly. The pilgrim is on the playing field, losing their way into the win and ever engaging God in every experience of life. Remember, pilgrimage isn’t the occasional religious trip to the holy land. It is the lifelong journey of the heart. 

What are you saying today, Lord? What are you doing today, Lord? How do you want to move in my life today, Lord? What are you up to in my family, Lord? What might you be doing in the house across the street, Lord? 

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.

So don’t go cancelling your next trip to the Bahamas (though they could use your help down in the Abacos for sure). People who say such things set their hearts on pilgrimage. 

 THE PRAYER

Father, I want to be a person who says such things. I want to be on pilgrimage. I want to set my heart on pilgrimage. My strength is in you. Yes, Lord, you are my strength. Come Holy Spirit, and train me be such a person of faith. I pray in Jesus name, Amen. 

THE QUESTION

So how about it? Tourist or Pilgrim? Does the contrast help you?  

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

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