Tuesday, September 10, 2019
“And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ” (2 Thessalonians 3:5 KJV).
Long ago, a dear brother gave me some Christian advice that has been on my mind ever since: “Live like the Lord is coming in the next 10 minutes, but plan like He is not coming for the next 10 years.” We would all do well to remember it even now… and to keep bringing it to memory as often as we can.
Believers in Christ commonly ask, “When is the Lord coming back? Are we getting close? How much longer can He tarry? Look at how conditions are worsening. Surely, the world cannot continue going down this awful path much longer.” We must be careful here, though, as we can grow apathetic. “If the Lord is coming back soon, we can just sit around idly until then. We do not need to be concerned with the distant future because we will not be here anymore anyway.” In contrast, many believers seem to lose sight of the prospect of Christ’s return. “Christians have been waiting for 20 centuries and He still has not appeared. He must not be coming back, so living right will make no difference. Let us just enjoy our lives and live however we want.”
The fact of the matter is that we should avoid both extremes. Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, never give one hint as to the exact timing of Christ’s coming for the Church that is His Body, but they do say He is coming. The Thessalonians had great confusion concerning the Rapture (Christ’s coming from His Body) and the Second Coming (Christ’s later coming for Israel). Unfortunately, that perplexity abounds today.
Today’s Scripture underscores that we remember the love of God (Calvary’s finished crosswork—Romans 5:8) and patiently wait for Christ (because He is coming back!). We should lay out life and ministry goals that take us several years into the future, as we do not know precisely when He will return. Yet, we should not live carelessly either, as we do not want to be acting foolishly if He happened to return very soon. Here is mature Christian thinking!