Once a month or so I write a devotional for an online Bible reading and discipleship group that I help coordinate and lead. It’s for TCKs and largely by TCKs. I’m the only non-TCK in WorldVenture’s group. That’s by design.
This week we’re chewing on 1 Kings 6-8. To save you from guessing what it’s about or looking it up, it’s about Solomon building The Temple. Yup. Building.
It’s interesting to imagine what all those things looked like, how it was to assemble the structure without noisy tools, how amazing it would’ve smelled with the cedar and sandalwood, or how dazzling all the gold that was involved would have been. It’s not exactly a page-turner though. The preceding chapters are filled with plots, intrigue, and a few executions. There’s nothing like that here.
While chapters 1-5 would make a great graphic novel. Chapters 6-8 are mostly interesting to the architects, builders and interior designers among us. I imagine if Pinterest existed in Solomon’s day, he would’ve had some amazing boards to share with the nation of Israel!
So as I sat down to read and prepare to write, I wondered what in the world I could pull out of this passage. I prayed, and God answered right in the first verse!
“Four hundred and eighty years after the Israelites left Egypt . . . Solomon started building The Temple of God.” 1 Kings 6:1 (The Message)
Bam! It struck me that God knows what it’s like to answer the worst question TCKs are asked–“Where’s home?”
It may not be those words exactly for you. It could be “Where are you from?” or something like that. The thing is it’s not so easy to answer when you’ve grown up cross-culturally.
Is home where your passport says you’re from? Is it where most of your stuff is? Is it where your toothbrush is? Is it a place that no longer exists? OR is it someplace you haven’t gotten to yet?
I love that God really understands this dilemma TCKs face.
It took Solomon seven years to finish God’s house. I’m not great with numbers, but that’s 487 years of not being able to answer the worst question ever.
Of course God could answer something like, “Home is with my people.” That’s true. However, most askers of that question are looking for an address—or at least some geography to attach to the answer.
Most TCKs have a similar answer. Home is with . . . my family, my church, my friends, my school, my ____ . (You fill in the blank.) As a person of the Third Culture roots go deep into people. Of course there are places TCKs love and sometimes call their own, but their real attachments are to people.
I couldn’t help but think of John 1:14 as I was reading 1 Kings. John says, again in The Message version, “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.” I’ve also heard it as “ . . . and pitched his tent among ours.” God chooses not to live in a fancy house. He chooses to live with us–fancy house or not, TCK or not.
We don’t need the temple anymore. We are God’s temple. He chooses us. He chooses to live within us—his workmanship.
God doesn’t describe his home geographically. He describes it relationally.
How do you describe home?
original photo of airmail envelope and background courtesy of lusi. Image altered at pixlr.com