“I think you should spend more time at home.”

Have you heard that line before? I have heard it a few times but have paid little notice to how important it is to spend more time at home. As I prepare to move out of the home I have spent 26 years in, the fruit of my reflection is that we ought to be thankful for our homes and spend more time at home.

We Have Duties at Home

Do you have any household chores that you are assigned to do? How much do you contribute to the daily life of your home? Simple tasks like washing the dishes, boiling water, and folding the clothes are tangible ways in which we contribute.

As we grow and take up responsibilities of a daughter or son, a grandchild or a sibling, the intangible aspect of the calling as outlined in Ephesians 5-6 is just as important. Interestingly, in each day of our lives, one often concurrently plays multiple roles. We should take time to review how we act towards the other members of our family and align it to what the Bible describes.

Proverbs 24:3-4 reads, “Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches”. This is a beautiful verse! Indeed, the wisdom that comes from learning one’s place as a member of our God-given family and the exercise of understanding and knowledge of what God instructs us about treating each other is part of “home building”.

Home Is Where Family Is

It is a great blessing to come home each day after school since Primary School to see my mum at home and talk to her about my day to the detail of what I ate for recess break. As the hours at school got longer and the school life gave way to work life, such precious foundations built in a mother-daughter relationship last till today.

Grandparents who stay with us often need our care and support. Learning Teochew (a local dialect) entirely from contact with my grandmother, I have heard the many stories of her growing up experiences and how they are vastly different from mine. Embracing her different needs has also taught me how to empathise better with my patients, in particular understanding how mobility becomes difficult and simple day to day tasks require assistance.

Some do not have the blessing of always being with family at home. God may have in His mercy taken our loved ones to glory, in His will given us a single parent family, or blessed us with life as a single. Yet even among the remnant sojourners and the church militant do we have a semblance of home, and the fellowship in the Lord’s house can be likened to that of a family.

We also ought to be thankful for the peace and security that Singapore affords. We have a safe place to worship and can have church activities in public areas. In our affluent society, any breaks from work and long weekends are immediately taken as opportunities to fly overseas. Holidays are eye opening and can be very refreshing, but there sure are good breaks that we can take while staying in Singapore as well! It is a blessed thing to have a safe home with family, and Luke 9:58 mentions that even the foxes have their holes and the birds their nests and it is in God’s providence that we have shelter and a place to call home.

Those Who Are Not At Home

I know many friends who have stayed overseas for a while, be it while on an overseas exchange programme or for a few years away from home for studies. Many of us deem it a great opportunity to go away for perceived “better education” and “better opportunities” thereafter; but as I have learnt, the opportunity cost is high.

One of my friends experienced severe depression and had to take a gap year off school; others had difficult decisions to make when their loved ones fell sick while they were overseas—the opportunities away from home had come at a cost and they missed home! Worse yet, there were more than a handful who picked up habits that started out “for the experience” and also subsequently strayed from God. The Bible in Habakkuk 2:5 describes the man who does not keep at home as one who “transgresseth by wine” and “is a proud man”.

There are times when we would long to be at home and I immediately recall the domestic helpers in our midst when I think of this point. How they would long to be at home instead of working overseas to bring in the dough! Let us be thankful that we have a home to go back to each day, with family and safety. Furthermore, we can be open to sharing our blessings with others, to show brotherly love and hospitality even to strangers as we are exhorted to do in Hebrews 13:2.

This is Not Our Ultimate Home

Despite all the creature comforts of home that we enjoy, 1 Corinthians 4:11 mentions that we hunger and thirst, and have no certain dwelling place. How can this be? While our homes are places that we love to go to, God promises even better—a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens (2 Corinthians 5:1). There is a dwelling place for us in “Father’s house”, and Christ goes before us to prepare us a place. Let us also build up treasures in heaven—our eternal home—which is far better and far more glorious than this earthly habitation.

Written by: Julia Ong | Issue 38