As Christians, our place in the culture has changed, and there has been a lot of talk recently about how we should proceed from here. I like what Tom Gilson has to say about how we should view ourselves:
Claiming that we are exiles mistakes our mission. For if an exile has any mission at all, it’s to get back to the homeland, and do what needs to be done back there…. “Exile” does not accurately describe who we are, nor does it identify what we’re about, as we live our lives in a postmodern culture…. We are not exiles from Christendom. We are expatriates from heaven.
An expatriate is a person living for a time outside his own country to accomplish some plan or purpose. The term encompasses students and businessmen, diplomats and missionaries.
Our country indeed seems less like home than it once did. It’s becoming foreign to us. But that fact does not make us exiles, waiting here for the chance to return home — that is, to a more Christian-friendly America — so that we can get to work once we’re safely there. Instead, like expatriate students or diplomats, we’re here on mission right here and now. We long for no other home; none but heaven, and when [we] get there our mission will have been accomplished. For now we are exactly where we belong, at the time and place where God put us.
“Expatriate” evokes…a quiet, patient sense of duty. You are far from home for a season with a job to do. It will demand discomfort and sacrifice. You might never be recognized for it, at least in this life. All this is true….
Let’s discuss what it means to be expatriates, here on purpose and on a mission, for as long as God leaves us here. We may not be at home, but we’re right where He wants us. And we’ve got work to do.
Read the rest of Gilson’s article.