Are You a Spiritual Tourist?

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I recently came across the following words:

“Are you so preoccupied today with what is, that you’ve lost sight of what can be? Step back and see the bigger picture!” ¹

Those few words made me think. How often do we get caught up with the busyness of life, with necessary tasks and legitimate concerns, and lose sight of the wonder of why we are here? The Universe is immense; it’s fine tuning is awesome; it’s beauty is breathtaking, and we, individually, are a part of it. Whether our bodies work the way they should or whether they don’t, they are still incredibly intricate. We might occasionally complain about our lot, but we have each been given a chance of life, an opportunity to see and experience the wonder of creation.

Ironically this beautiful planet that we live on has been suffering because of the sheer volume of tourists wanting to experience its wonders. Exactly two years ago, authorities in Peru decided to restrict the number of tourists visiting the famous Inca citadel Machu Pichu. One year ago, Thai authorities decided to close Maya Bay, one of Thailand’s most-visited tourist destinations. It will remain shut until 2021 after suffering extensive environmental damage through receiving up to 5,000 tourists a day, after it featured in the Leonardo DiCaprio film The Beach. And maybe like me you were surprised to see photos last month of climbers queueing to reach the top of Everest! As Australian author Ben Pobjie wrote: “It is the fate of all great tourist spots to become terrible tourist spots because as soon as everyone finds out they’re great tourist spots, they fill up with tourists.” ²

However, tourism can be good news for the local economy, and seeing the world as a tourist can be an exciting and fun experience, but tourism by its very nature is transitory. On the whole tourists arrive, they look, they take photos, and then they leave. Sadly some even fly to an exotic location, and never leave the hotel complex, so never experience the local culture or meet local people. Such tourists are like those of us who get caught up with the busyness of life, with necessary tasks and legitimate concerns, and lose sight of the wonder of why we are here.

Even if your main concern is as important as finding a job or feeding your family, take time out to connect with your Creator. Don’t be a spiritual tourist: here today and gone tomorrow. Instead cultivate the habit of seeing God in creation, of hearing God in the silence, of accepting the fact that He loves you, warts and all, and of telling Him how you feel. It will take you daily to a place of rest and will do your soul good. There really is more to life; don’t settle for less!

1. “God’s Little Devotional Book for Leaders”. Honor Books, Inc. 1997
2.”What Happened?” Ben Pobjie. Affirm Press. 2018.


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