The story is told of an elderly missionary couple who, after decades of faithful service overseas, was returning back to the States. Their heart’s desire was to stay on the field, but their age and failing health concerned their mission board and after packing up their belongings they boarded a steamship bound for New York.
Also traveling on the same ocean liner was a popular, well-known government official and his wife. Over the weeks at sea this elderly couple observed the official’s drunkenness, womanizing, and foul language. It was a marked contrast to the lifestyle to which they’d become accustomed. They grew even more disheartened, when, upon their arrival in New York, the official and his wife were greeted with great fanfare—a brass band, reporters and photographers, roses for his wife—the works!
And so this aged missionary couple, health broken and spent in their service for Christ, walked off the gangplank and through the crowd, unmet and seemingly unknown. As they walked, a tear trickled down the husband’s cheek.
“What’s wrong?” his wife asked.
“My whole life I’ve given to serving Christ. We’ve spent ourselves for Jesus and nobody is here to greet us. There’s no bouquet of flowers for you.”
His dear wife thought for a minute and then said, “Honey, we’re not home yet. We’re not home yet.”