THIS IS NOT MY PLACE OF RESTING
“For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come” (Hebrews 13:14)
INTRO.: A hymn which urges us, since we have no continuing city here on earth, to seek the one that is to come is “This Is Not My Place of Resting.” The text was written by a Scottish Free Church preacher named Horatius Bonar (1808-1889). It was published in The Bible Hymn-Book of 1845. Other well known hymns by Bonar that have appeared in our books include “For Me He Careth,” “Go, Labor On,” “Here, O My Lord, I See Thee,” “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say,” and “No Shadows Yonder.” Several tunes have been used with “This Is Not My Place of Resting.” The traditional one (Vesper Flotow) was composed in 1875 by Friedrich von Flotow. Another (Talmar), which has also been used with a number of other hymns, was composed in 1845 by Isaac B. Woodbury.
So far as I know, Bonar’s hymn has not appeared in any hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church for use in churches of Christ, until 2010 when Legacy Music Publishing of Dothan, AL, the successor to M. Lynwood Smith Publishing, issued Glory Echoes compiled by Kevin Presley, with 238 selections. The first time I had seen this hymn was in the 1969 Hymns of the Spirit edited by Connor B. Hall and published by Pathway Press of Cleveland, TN. Both of these books use a tune (Rest Beyond) composed by Anthony Johnson Showalter (1858-1924). It was at one time owned by the Tennessee Music and Printing Co. Showalter is best known for the song “Leaning On the Everlasting Arms.” Interestingly, both books also erroneously credit the text to Showalter as well.
The song reminds us that this earth is not our final resting place.
I. Stanza 1 tells us that there is a city yet to come
This is not my place of resting;
Mine’s a city yet to come.
Onwards to it I am hasting—
On to my eternal home.
- Christians look forward to a city which God has prepared: Heb. 11:13-16
- Therefore, like Paul, we press onward to that goal: Phil. 3:13-14
- It will be an eternal home where we shall have eternal life: Mk. 10:29-30
II. Stanza 2 tells us that all traces of sin’s sad story will not be there
In it all is light and glory,
O’er it shines a nightless day;
Every trace of sin’s sad story—
All the curse hath (has) passed away.
- In this city all is light and glory because the glory of God illuminates it and the Lamb is its light: Rev. 21:23
- As a result, it basks in a nightless day for there is no night there: Rev. 21:25
- Also, the curse of sin has passed away: Rev. 22:3
III. Stanza 3 tells us that we shall feed on the freshest pastures
There the Lamb, our Shepherd, leads us
By the streams of life along;
On the freshest pastures feeds us,
Turns our sighing into song.
- The Lamb is the Shepherd who leads us: Rev. 7:17
- The place where He leads us is beside the pure river of water of life: Rev. 22:1
- There He will turn our sighing into song: Rev. 15:2-4
IV. Stanza 4 tells us there we shall say farewell to pain
Soon we’ll pass this desert dreary,
Soon we bid farewell to pain;
Never more be (are) sad or weary,
Never, never sin again.
- Soon we’ll pass this dreary desert in death: Rev. 14:13
- In heaven there will be no more sorrow or crying: Rev. 21:1-4
- The reason is that the sin which is the ultimate cause of all our sadness here will not be there: Rev. 22:14-15
CONCL.: Different composers have used Bonar’s hymn to make a gospel song, such as J. J. Jelley in the 1893 Pearls of Praise who provided this chorus:
Beautiful home, Oh, may we come
Safe to its fields of fadeless day;
Where every trace of sin’s dark story,
All the curse hath passed away.
God created me not just for life on this earth, which is simply a probationary period of preparation, but for eternal bliss with Him in heaven. Therefore, while I must exist in this world, I must not get too attached to it but remember that “This Is Not My Place of Resting.”