Which Kingdom are You living for?
The Pastor of Hermas (1st century A.D.)
As in this world we have no abiding city, we ought
to seek one to come. (Heb. 13:14) He
(the Lord) says to me, "You know that you who are the servants of God dwell
in a strange land, for your city is far away from this one. If, then", He
continues, "you are aware of the city in which you are going to live, why
do you provide for yourselves lands, and make expensive preparations, and
accumulate dwellings and useless buildings here? He who makes such preparations
for this city here cannot return again to his own. Oh foolish, and unstable, and
miserable man! Do you not understand that all these things here belong to
someone else, and are under the power of another? For the lord of this city will
someday say to you, 'I do not want you to dwell in my city. Depart from this
city, because you do not obey my laws.'
What, then, do you intend to do, respecting your lands and the rest of your possessions here, when you have a law from your own heavenly city? Here is what you will do. You will deny the heavenly law altogether and walk according to the law of this city here.
Watch out lest you deny the law in your heavenly city to your own hurt. Then, if you want to return to your heavenly city, you will not be received. You will be excluded from it, because you have denied the law of your city.
Therefore, take care as one who lives in a foreign land. Make no further preparations for yourself than what is merely sufficient. When the master of this city comes to cast you out for disobeying his law, be ready to leave his city, and to depart to your own and to obey your own law where you will not be exposed to annoyance but will be in great joy.
Take care, then, all you who serve the Lord. Have Him in your heart, so that you do the works of God, remembering His commandments and promises which He promised. Believe that He will bring His promises to pass if His commandments are observed.
Therefore, instead of lands, buy afflicted souls, according to your ability. Visit widows and orphans and do not forget them. Spend your wealth and all your earthly preparations which you have received from the Lord, upon such lands and houses as these. It is only for this reason that the Master makes you rich, so that you might perform these services unto Him. It is much better for you to purchase these types of lands, possessions, and houses. You will find these in your own heavenly city, when you come to dwell there. These are noble and sacred expenditures, which do not bring sorrow or fear, but joy.
Do not adopt the practice of acquiring things the way the heathen do, for it will be injurious to you who are the servants of God. Instead, adopt the practice of acquiring things in such a way that brings you eternal joy.
Do not corrupt yourself by touching what is another's nor covet it. It is an evil thing to covet the goods of other men. Do your own work, and you will be saved.
(This page was last updated on 07/20/2002.)