A Short-term Rental

or several years we have used a short-term property rental service for our vacations. VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) is a web-based service where owners post their own vacation homes for other people to rent. Believe it or not, renting a home for a week is far cheaper than using hotels—especially since we travel with another family. Imagine how many hotel rooms you need for five adults and seven kids.

We have rented houses in Orlando, Pigeon Forge, Smith Lake (Alabama), and Norris Lake (Tennessee). Each house is different. Each owner is different. Some owners communicate very little with the renters. This past week, the owner called the night of our check-in to make sure everything was going okay.

The other big difference is the rules owners have. Some owners are very relaxed and leave few rules. Some have several house rules such as bring your own towels, take your shoes off when you enter the house, put the laundry in the washer when you leave, etc. The rules can seem frustrating at times. But you quickly realize it’s just a week and that shouldn’t be a big deal. So you comply.

The analogy serves as a great illustration for our life. So much emphasis is placed on the years we live on earth. We emphasize our physical bodies. We emphasize our education. We spend hours focusing on success in life to provide a great lifestyle during our working years, but even more so during retirement. But here is the truth about your life here: it is a short term rental. Look at the way Paul described our bodies . . .

“For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” (2 Corinthians 5:1–5, ESV)

Paul says our bodies are just tents. A tent is a temporary dwelling place. It is not designed to be permanent. It is the type of living arrangements a nomad, or sojourner, would use. Peter calls disciples sojourners and exiles (1 Peter 2:11–12). Our time here is temporary. We are just traveling through.

Following the illustration of a short-term rental, God is the owner of our “tents.” Notice what Paul wrote to the church in Corinth: “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20, ESV)

Notice that we are not our own. So many talk about “my body” and “my rights” today. If you are a disciple, it isn’t your body. It is God’s body. Understanding this important fact is key to the disciple fulfilling his obligations while here on earth. We rent this body for a short time and then we leave. “So glorify God in your body.”