The following drives to the heart of what God designed for this life. This should be the church's aim as well. Read and re-read these words from William Sangster. They hit home!
At home with the Lord. —2 Corinthians 5:8
Deep in the human heart there is a homing instinct, profound, persistent, ineradicable, that we often ignore and might even deny.
There is something in us that earth can never satisfy. It is common for people to say and to believe that if they only had this or that thing they would always be happy, and some of them die believing it. But the evidence of those who obtain the treasure does not bear them out. It satisfied for a little while—and then there was the old, persistent hunger again, clamorous as ever.
Earth does not satisfy us. I cannot help but feel that that is an impressive fact. I believe that there is in us a homesickness for heaven, that that ache which earth cannot satisfy can be satisfied by God, that all feel it, but only some understand it.
God has put in the heart of everyone of us a longing for himself. The mass of humanity does not understand it. People just know that there are times when they want to be quiet, times when they want to be alone, times when the calendar or the stars or death speaks to them. They hunger and they thirst—but for what?
It is part of the service of religion to make the hunger of our souls clear to us.
You may have lost your way, but don’t lose your address. Don’t deny that hunger in your soul. Don’t say, “It isn’t there; earth satisfies me; when this life is over I will have had all that I want of life.”
The homesickness for God in your heart is a precious, divine gift. It won’t make you less keen to serve others here below, but it will be a constant reminder to you that the most permanent dwelling earth provides is a tent, and at any time the word may come to draw the pegs. We are, indeed, strangers and pilgrims here below.
Here we sojourn; there we belong. You will work with zest and skill and thoroughness in all that concerns the outworking of God’s purpose on this earth, and you will work the better because, by faith, you have the perfect always in view.
—William E. Sangster
Wallis, D. (2001). Take Heart: Daily devotions with the church's great preachers (40). Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications.