Monday, March 14, 2022

          People are often eager to engage in conversations about the end of time, the last days and the return of Jesus.  Certainly, matters like these are important for anyone to consider and to take seriously.  But we have to be careful not to be consumed by these matters to the point that they dominate our thinking or unnecessarily influence our behavior.  Jesus spoke about His return in Mark 13.  He said, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.  Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch” (Mark 13:32-34).  If we look at our Lord’s words carefully, we see that He gave us some instructions to follow as we wait for His return.  Almost like a parent giving a child some things to do, Jesus gave His disciples some guidance for how to await His return so the time is not wasted or idle.
            First, Jesus really dismissed the unhealthy and consuming pursuit of trying to know the exact time of His return.  He said plainly that no one knows.  Not the angels and not even Jesus Himself—but only the Father knows the time when He will draw history to a close and send His Son to earth again.  There seems to be little reason to try to nail down a particular time for Jesus to come back when He tells us that only the Father possesses that knowledge and time.  I’ve seen many predictions through the years that say Jesus will return by a specific day or year, yet each one came and passed and the Lord did not return.  Place your confidence in the reality that the Lord will come again and trust the details to the Father alone.
            Second, Jesus told us to “be alert.”  We should pay attention to our faith, service, spiritual maturity and growing in our understanding of God’s Word.  The Lord does not bid us to sit idly by gazing at the sky.  Not at all.  We are to be alert and attentive to the important matters of faith and discipleship.  Pray for those who have asked for prayer.  Share your faith and the good news of Jesus with those who do not know Him.  There are plenty of ways to serve the Lord and to help others prepare for His return if we simply stay alert to what is happening around us. 
            Third, Jesus directs us to be good stewards of what He has given to us.  Use your blessings to serve the Lord and make the gospel known.  Use your time to be ready for His return.  Live a life that honors God and His ways.  Jesus commanded us to lay up treasure in Heaven (Matthew 6:19-20).  Be a blessing to other believers.  Love and care for family and friends who are part of your life and circle of influence.  When the Lord does return, we want Him to find us at work diligently doing what He has given us to do until we one day enter into the place He has prepared for us. 
            Fourth, and especially in these perilous times with all that is happening in the world, maintain your commitment to prayer.  Pray for peace.  Pray for the work of the gospel.  Pray for God to keep your eyes open and hands ready to serve Him.  Pray for our church and the ministries that God has entrusted to us.  Be quick to carry your concerns and burdens to the Lord in prayer.  Pray for His power and presence to break out in places and people where there is pain, hurting, struggle and lostness.  We may, understandably, grow frustrated with the limits of our strength and abilities.  But God is without limits and forever full of power, strength and honor.  Pray for Him to be at work.  Someone once said that we should work and serve like everything depends upon us but pray like everything depends upon God.  The Lord will come again.  And until He does, we have plenty to do.  May we get to it.  Have a great Monday and week ahead!  Remember you can share our worship at     
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