Devotional: Tourist or Pilgrim

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. (Psalm 84:5)

It’s too easy to be a Christian tourist: gathering knickknacks you’ll never use; taking pictures you’ll never see again; checking attractions off your list. “Disney World, check. Grand Canyon, check.” If we attempt to follow Jesus that way—“Bible reading, check. An hour in prayer, check”—we’ll find we’ve been on a journey without going anywhere.

The Christian life is more than that; it’s a pilgrimage. You can journey forty years, or a hundred, and never arrive (as the Israelites discovered back in the Old Testament). But pilgrimage has a destination in mind, somewhere sacred. In fact, we run toward someone sacred: Jesus.

In Hebrews 11, what some people call the “faith chapter,” the writer describes some of these people like this: “[they] acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. . . . [They] desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one.” Set your sights ahead, toward the “better country,” and you can be assured that your journey is not mindless wandering.

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