Friday, April 15, 2022

"A Thief in the Night"

 I grew up in the 60s and 70s. My parents attended a Pentecostal church and by the mid-70s the constant refrain was "Jesus is coming back any moment!"

The underlying message was "We had it good back in the day, but not anymore. Too bad for you, kid."

Planning for the future, hopes, dreams, investment in the next generation -- all were waved aside by holy hand-wringing over whatever the latest news confirmed about the last days.

This was not a good message to a 12-year-old. "What's the use?" is not the way to begin life.

Nevertheless, through God's grace and time served in the USAF and US Army I learned the value of diligence, investment, unpaid extra work, self-growth, constant learning, useful business, and constructive leisure (each of these is deemed a blessing by the writer of Ecclesiastes). And I still believe Jesus can return at any moment.

But Jesus warned us that he would return and that the master expects the servant to be working when he returns (Matthew 24:47). Some love to use the example of Matthew 24 as proof of the rapture, but what they fail to emphasize is that two men are working in a field. Two women will be working at a grind mill.

Both are working. One of each pair has hope and expectation, yet nonetheless, they work.

Bad theology has emerged again in recent days. Many churches are waving off politics as "a choice between two evils."

They prefer to keep their heads down, avoid being noticed, remain in safe enclaves, and ride it out.

Is it "holiness" to promote my safety, my comfort, and my status while the world collapses all around?

Or are we using holiness as a cover for cowardice?

Thank God Peter, John, Paul, Timothy, Andrew, Stephen, Augustine, Martin Luther, Jan Hus, William Wilberforce, and tens of thousands of other believers through the millennia stood tall as bright shining lights in a dark world in spite of the contradictions, calumny, rejection, and rage.

Ephesians 2:10: For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.

We are instructed to be active, to work -- and nearly all work supposes a result to come in the future. 

Therefore, we should plant, mill, build, defend, create, invest, and move forward in confidence and leave the times and dates in God's hands.

Philippians 1:22-24 "But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not. For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you."

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