August 11, 2017 “Sojourner”


He travels light, the sojourner, the Servant of God.
He has what he needs in a worn suitcase with only a hat and coat to keep out the weather. He would love to put down roots somewhere and stay for a while, but that is not his calling. He comes from a land faraway in miles but held close in his heart. He is on his way home, not by the fastest route, but by a long, curving road that takes him into the lives of many. People call him blessed. The life of the sojourner is like a broad river flowing in its own good time to the sea, watering fields and forests in every slow turn.

He is alone but he is not lonely. His solitude is a season of prayer. In crowds he is often overlooked, seen only by those who are close to him or by those who are searching for him. He is eloquent enough to speak on the courthouse square but he is no showman. He looks a person in the eyes when he talks, and he listens when others talk.

When he stays for a while it is with some important task in mind, some appointed work that he can do. In a few days the people with whom he works can’t seem to remember when he wasn’t around. If they were to stop and think, they would wonder how they ever got along without him. He does his work and it is well done. His skill and craftsmanship mark everything he does. His wages are fair and his family well cared for. He makes friends, mostly those who work with him, but he is known to be a friendly to all. No scandal comes near him. He has enemies, threatened by his character which they cannot control, but they are kept at bay by orders from his homeland and their schemes generally fail.

Then one day, the Sojourner and his family leave. The pack up the stuff they have and take to the road. Another town awaits, another work to do, another appointment to keep.

His absence will be deeply felt—at first. Then someone else will come with his own touch and tone and the void will be filled—almost. For some, the Sojourner remains in their hearts—not in competition with the new man—but in a shared passion and work, a deep bound of fellowship and a common destiny.

Down the road, around the next bend, over another hill, the Sojourner stops again for a while. He makes new friends. He does his work. He is a blessing to others. He is one stop closer to home.

The Poet says that Israel sojourned in Egypt. They dwelt there temporarily and then the moved on to the Wilderness and finally to the Land of Promise. They were sojourners, temporary residents with work to do. As was Israel in Egypt, so is the Believer in this world. As the old song says:

“This world is not my home. I’m just a-passing through.”

We are sojourners.
We must hold this world with a loose grip for we are not of it. Our story is not contained in the dimensions of the planet Earth. We come from a land far away, a different and better Kingdom. Our King gives us work to do and places to do it. He directs us from there and will welcome us there when our sojourn is done.

He travels light, the sojourner, the servant of God.

Psalm 105: 23
Israel came into Egypt, and Jacob became a sojourner in the land of Ham. The Lord made his people exceedingly fruitful; he made them stronger than their enemies; Whose heart he turned, so that they hated his people, and dealt unjustly with his servants. He sent Moses his servant, and Aaron whom he had chosen. They worked his signs among them, and portents in the land of Ham. … He led out his people with silver and gold; in all their tribes there was not one that stumbled. Egypt was glad of their going, because they were afraid of them. He spread out a cloud for a covering and a fire to give light in the night season. They asked, and quails appeared, and he satisfied them with bread from heaven. He opened the rock, and water flowed, so the river ran in the dry places. For God remembered his holy word and Abraham his servant. So he led forth his people with gladness, his chosen with shouts of joy. He gave his people the lands of the nations, and they took the fruit of others’ toil, That they might keep his statutes and observe his laws. Hallelujah!
Luke 10:2-10 NIV
He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road. “When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Stay in that house, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house. “When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God is near you.’
Romans 10:14-15
How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Acts 13:1-4
In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: … While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit,,,
1 John 2:15 KJV
Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
Luke 12:15 NIV
Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

Lord Jesus, You were a sojourner here on this earth. Now You call us to walk in Your footsteps. I do not seek fame or riches or even recognition. I seek only to do Your will and touch people with Your touch. I want to represent Your faraway Kingdom well, bringing it closer. I want go where You send me and stay where You keep me. We share this adventure of glorious anonymity, a work seen only by those nearby and the Father above. All for You, Lord Jesus, all for You. Amen.

So Send I You
Words and Music: Margaret Clarkson

1. So send I you-by grace made strong to triumph
O’er hosts of hell, o’er darkness, death, and sin,
My name to bear, and in that name to conquer-
So send I you, my victory to win.

2. So send I you-to take to souls in bondage
The word of truth that sets the captive free,
To break the bonds of sin, to loose death’s fetters-
So send I you, to bring the lost to me.

3. So send I you-my strength to know in weakness,
My joy in grief, my perfect peace in pain,
To prove My power, My grace, My promised presence-
So send I you, eternal fruit to gain.

4. So send I you-to bear My cross with patience,
And then one day with joy to lay it down,
To hear My voice, “well done, My faithful servant-
Come, share My throne, My kingdom, and My crown!”
“As the Father hath sent Me, so send I you.

Semper Reformanda!
Stephen Phifer

© 2017 Stephen R. Phifer All Rights Reserved