When you are on a college campus, you meet new people all the time. Random people in classes, on the quad, student organizations, group meetings…it’s amazing how many people you interact with. There’s a general 3 questions that are always asked: Name, Year, and Major. If the conversation goes longer than that, there are a couple more questions that come, one commonly being “where are you from?” And it’s crazy how one question can bring such closeness among people.
I’m from Des Plaines, the City of Destiny. If anyone ever says they’re from anywhere near there, we already have this close bond. It’s like we’re family, like we have the same blood running through our systems. We now know each person’s history, what they went through growing up, what they had to overcome.
In the same way, when I’m off campus and I tell someone I go to U of I, you will not believe the connection that comes when you find another U of I student, or more so with an alumn. We all bleed orange and blue. And again the connection is there. there is credibility in what the people say when I hear they walked through the same streets of U of I that I did. Again, we’re family.
In Luke 7:11-17, we see the story of Jesus raising a widow’s son from the dead. The passage starts with “Soon after, Jesus went to a town called Nain…” Can you imagine what its like for someone who lived in Nain to hear that story years later? They might know the family, been around the area, heard of the boy. It could have been that they were out of town that weekend, and then in the news going around they hear “In the town of Nain, and boy has been raised from the dead.” For me, I would normally just read right past that line. If it’s not Judea or Israel or Canaan or one of those places, it normally doesn’t seem like a place that I need to put too much care in thinking about.
But if I were from the town Nain, it would really have caught my attention. I would have been in so much shock, that something like that could happen so close to me. I’ve heard of people dying because of drunk driving my whole life, but only in college when I started to actually know faces and have it happen within a 3 mile radius of where I lived did it truly strike a chord. And every year a college team wins the NCAA tournament, but even though the Illini only made it to the championship game last year, I was on fire for a good 6 months.
It’s encouraging and eye-opening to see the things that occur in the land around you, to people that you know. Hearing people’s testimonies about how the came to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior are always a blessing to for me to hear, but it always means so much more when it’s one of my friends, or someone from my church.
Many times in the gospels, after Jesus had healed people and forgiven them of their sins, they desired to follow Jesus wherever he went and become his disciple. But to many of them, Jesus gave them a different command – he told them to go back to their homes and tell the community that they were healed, and show them the change in their life. We need to be sure to go back to our hometowns, our home churches, our communities, and share with them just how God had healed us. They know us so intimately, knowing our strengths and weaknesses, and that’s what makes the power of God so much more amazing. We can tell someone how bad we once were and then God changed our lives, but it makes a greater impact for someone who truly knew how we once were, and then they are able to see the change. Never forget your home, they can always benefit from hearing of God’s blessings in your life. We all have our own “Nain”…go home and give your community a reason to praise God.