COLUMN: Home is where the heart is

Published 6:10 pm Wednesday, February 14, 2024

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By Dr. Peter C. Smith
Guest Columnist

The idea of home is a strong, persistent theme in human hearts. Home is where the heart is. Lives, families happen in homes. Those without homes sincerely deserve our compassion. Faith is grown in homes where we give ourselves to the presence of God. 

Your statutes have been my songs wherever I make my home. Psalm 119:54

Home has been on my mind lately. I have moved too many times through my life and have a hard time even reconciling where I am from. Born in the north but raised in the south is about the best I can do. Of course, those moves were largely not my choice. Who chooses to move two states away in the middle of the seventh grade? My more recent moves have been different, however. Where I find home at this point in my life seems more meaningful. I am looking for where to place my hopes and time, where to invest my appreciation of God’s grace. 

God has brought me to this place of decision, and it makes me glad to make my home in Farmville. As you read this, we will be moving many things for the next chapter of our lives, and I look forward to following God’s Spirit as a greater part of the Farmville community. Home itself can be an expression of ministry, and I hope you share that sense of location as part of God’s calling.

In the biblical narrative, God is often giving people a home with purpose. One of the most dramatic examples is Abram/Abraham who is called to go a long way to a new home to create the beginnings of God’s people. Those same people are summoned to Egypt to create a new home under Joseph’s care. Eventually, they find themselves in the Land of Promise to know God’s home for them. Through it all, God is with them, even when they struggle to honor the gift of that home. Both the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel lose their home, at least temporarily. While the Southern Kingdom (Judah) is in captivity, they are instructed to make Babylon their home (Jeremiah 29:4-6). 

Land is just land, though, and can change hands again and again. We move homes, and homes can be lost. While that security is nice, it does not last the way we would like security to endure. Thankfully, we also find a home in a greater security, a true home in faith and hope.  Jesus opens the way in John 14:3, promising to prepare a home and to return for us. It culminates in one of my favorite promises in Scripture:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples, and God himself will be with them and be their God… Revelation 21:3

Welcome home!

DR. PETER C. SMITH is the pastor for Farmville Presbyterian Church. He can be reached at