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I travel from time to time. Unfortunately, this requires sleeping in hotel rooms. My last hotel stay had me pondering the differences between a hotel room and my own home. The "hospitality" industry specializes in the sterile and generic. I can hope for little more than clean sheets, hot water, and maybe a coffee machine. Even luxury hotels, despite elegant fixtures and expensive amenities, are designed for standardized guests. Any art on the walls is mass-produced.

One hotel room is the same as another. But my house, with all its quirks, is a home: a long-term habitat, a place of relationships and authentic hospitality. I don't feel like a guest. Indeed, even my guests shouldn't feel like guests, but like family.

For these reasons, I treat a hotel room much differently than my home. I don't trash hotel rooms, but neither am I invested in them. I wouldn't spend any money to redecorate the walls or to fix a broken drain in the tub. But I'm always thinking about maintaining and improving my home: adding new art or furniture, modifying rooms, installing a screen porch, redesigning a kitchen—and, of course, fixing what breaks. Because I am committed to my home, my attitude is fundamentally different.

This raises an important question: What is our attitude toward the world we live in? How do we treat God's physical creation, the cosmos into which he placed us? Like a home, or a hotel? Our answer is shaped in part by our eschatology. How do we view the end times? After all, our lifespan is just an infinitesimally small drop of time compared with the great ocean of eternity. If we look forward to being whisked away from this physical world at death—taken away with those who followed God, while the sinners are "left behind"—then ...

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Who Gets Left Behind?
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June 2011

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