1516) Only Passing Through

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     A story is told about an American tourist’s visit to an old rabbi who lived somewhere in Europe.  The tourist had heard about the old man’s great wisdom, and he hoped to gain some wisdom about how to best live his life.

      The rabbi invented the tourist into his apartment.  The tourist was astonished to see that the rabbi lived in one simple room.  Books were piled high everywhere, and there was a table and a bench and mat on the floor.  That was all.

     “Rabbi, where is your furniture?” the visitor asked.

     “Where is yours?” replied the rabbi.

     “Mine?” asked the puzzled American.  “But I’m a visitor here.  I’m only passing through.”

     “So am I,” said the rabbi.


I Chronicles 29:15  —  We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us.  Our days on earth are like a passing shadow, gone so soon without a trace.

Leviticus 25:23  —  (The Lord says), “The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers.”

Hebrews 11:13  —  All these people were still living by faith when they died.  They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.

Matthew 6:19-21  —  (Jesus said), “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”


Almighty God, judge of us all, you have placed in our hands the wealth we call our own.  Give us such wisdom by your Spirit that our possessions may not be a curse in our lives, but an instrument for blessing, through your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Amen.    

Lutheran Book of Worship, 1978, Augsburg Publishing House.