When the End Comes
In recent years, there has been a fascination with a variety of end time scenarios. A few years ago, the Left Behind series of books was on the best seller list across the county. I recently watched a History Channel program devoted to the importance of the year 2012 on the Mayan calendar. Hollywood has gotten into the act by releasing films dealing with end time scenarios. This fascination with the tend times is not new. History testifies to the fact that there has always been an apocalyptic nerve in mankind.
Christians also look to the future in anticipation of the end times. For them, it will be a time when Christ returns to judge the wrongs of this world and to establish His kingdom of righteousness. Some have devoted their lives to discovering the exact time of these events. For me, they ask the wrong question. Our question should not be when will He come but what will He find me doing when He comes. Scripture gives us clear answers to the later question. Here are three things I believe He should find us doing.
First, we should wait expectantly. When Jesus was taken up into heaven we were left with this promise: “They also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.’” (Acts 1:11 NASB). The early Church took this promise seriously. They anticipated his return at any moment. Their belief of his return enabled them to endure the hardship they were subjected to. Their attitude has followed the faith through the centuries. In the bleakest moments this promise has enabled Christian to look to the future with optimism. Today should be no different, because we, too, know that in His time He will return
Second, we should wait patiently. The world views us as being simple minded, when we speak of our “blessed hope,” They scoff at our naiveté. The early church faced the same kind of scoffing. Peter addressed this issue. He wrote, “Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, and saying, ‘Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep all continues just as it was from the beginning of Creation.”(II Peter 3:3,4 NASB). Peter’s reply then is equally sufficient today. He wrote, “But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance”(II Peter 3:8, 9 NASB). Peter’s words are equally important for us today, because they remind us that God is not bound by time. His plans are sure and in His time He will bring them to reality.
Third, not only should we watch hopefully and wait patiently, we should work diligently. Once again Peter gives us insight into what we should be doing when Christ returns. He wrote. “The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer. Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaint. As each one has received a special gift, employ it is serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.” (I Peter 4:7-10 NASB) God will not be happy with those who chose to hide themselves and to withdraw from the work that is to be done before His return. Rather than panicking, Christians should be demonstrating God’s love and serving each other with the gifts that He has given them. In doing so, they will help give hope to their little part of the world.
There you have it, a really simple formula for finding hope in difficult times. Watch hopefully, wait patiently and work diligently while you wait for His return. If we will implement these three things, when we do see Jesus, He will say “Well done my good and faithful servant.”