As a former military guy, I quickly became acquainted with the acronym, PCS. It stands for “Permanent Change of Station,” which is a tad ironic since a PCS is anything but “P,” permanent that is. In fact, in my day, to qualify as a PCS, the move only had to be longer than 180 days.
I’ve tried to tally the total number of PCS moves I made. I’ve come up with six–which probably doesn’t seem like a lot, until I tell you that I was on active duty for 14 years–I finished my military career in the reserves. So, over 14 years, that averages a move every 2.3 years or so. Okay so it’s 2.33333333333… You got me.
Coupled with the not so “P” PCS moves, was a thing called TDY–which stands for Temporary Duty. You math geniuses have already figured out that, if a PCS is longer than 180 days, a TDY must be 180 days or less.
All that to say, in the military, moving is the norm. Being settled in any one place is a bit of an illusion. Sure, military folks, like everyone else, opt for the trappings of permanence. Houses are bought, schools are attended, friends are made, BBQs are had, life events are celebrated. But it was usually the case that the day someone new moved into the neighborhood was immediately followed by someone moving out. Then, of course, there were the combat-related deployments. No one knew how long those would last and no one knew who might or might not come back.
I say all of this (and, thank you to those who are still reading) to highlight the illusion of permanence in which many of us invest. My wonderful wife and I have just purchased a home. I have said a zillion times (yes, in my head that is an actual number) that I would never be a homeowner again. It seems to me that the home owns me. There is forever something to do–painting, fixing, cleaning, picking up the neighbors’ dogs’ poop. (Can you say “poop” in a blog?)
Many of the things we do in the new-to-us home are designed to make it feel (make us feel) settled—permanent. But we are not…permanent. Nothing around us is permanent. It is all temporary. You and I are on a TDY. It may last a lot longer than 180 days, but “T” it is.
To be sure, while we are here, we are to invest. But we are to invest in the stuff of genuine permanence. Relationships. Invitations to know our Savior. Worshipping our God. Relationships. Sharing the Name of Jesus. Praying. Study of God’s Word. Relationships. Did I mention Relationships?
Those are things that last—and Relationships are among the most profound of the lasting things. No matter what our street address turns out to be in the New Jerusalem, we will not be able to bring any of those prized “home accessories” with us; we will only have our Relationships. The Prime Relationship—with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and those Relationships with others who have given their lives to Christ. Those things will be truly “P”—Permanent. All else is truly “T”—temporary.
“P”–Permanent or “T”–Temporary–what’s it going to be?
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3).
© 2016, All Scripture quotations from the New International Version.