At the bazaar, I met Aziz, a young guy who left his homeland to go work in a foreign land I was staying in. He stood inside a tiny food and snack shop where he worked every day for 12 hours. I asked him why he came all that way and went through all that trouble to work there. He cracked a deep smile and said, “There’s a girl back home.” He explained how he was planning to work for about 3 years to save up and be able to buy a house and marry this girl he loved. He had very little freedom, and no real future in this foreign country he was working so hard in, but he was joyfully looking forward to another life that he was working for.

If his efforts are noble and worthwhile, how much more should we follow this young man’s example, not to set up a life on this earth, but to work for eternal things?

We can give up our freedoms and our younger years, and put ourselves in uncomfortable situations…

so that we can plant seeds of the gospel in barren lands    and these seeds will spring up to bring praise and honour to God.     (Is. 41:19-20, 55:11-12, 61:11, Mark 4:26-29, 1 Cor 3:6-8)

so that we can pave the way for the bride to be united with Christ for all eternity    and rejoice as the close, trusted friends of the bridegroom.       (John 3:29)

so that we can see a glimpse of his glorious, beautiful creation    and in our old age we can have spiritual children joyfully running on after us.       (1 Thess. 2:19, Phil 4:1, Rev 14:13)

so that we can know Him intimately    and feel his sustaining, caring love as we walk in strange, lonely places.       (Isaiah 42:6)

My friend Aziz was working hard and living in one country, but all his efforts and money were separated for somewhere else — for someone else. When he said “There’s a girl back home” his eyes looked nobly and proudly to a far-away land. The goal gave him a sense of dignity that rose far beyond the little snack shop and shone in contrast to his older co-worker who was slouched over behind the counter, working in the same setting — but with much different goals. Just the thought of the girl he loved gave him the joy and energy to propel him forward and persevere in this strange land.

We can also work as foreigners with nothing in this world but his honor and joy beaming from our faces, with our heads lifted high, and our eyes fixed firmly on the prize.