Sunday, March 13, 2011

What If...

I'm definitely not one of those people that you will hear say things like, "We're in the end times!" Or "Jesus is coming back on this day!" and proceed to list an exact month, day and year.

In fact, I would have to say that I tend to go exactly opposite of those attitudes. Just like the Bible says that no one knows the day or hour, not even Jesus himself, I don't pretend to think I would know.

I'm perfectly fine accepting the fact that I don't know when the world is going to end, or when Jesus is coming back. I really don't need to know.

But the truth is, eventually the "end times" will start. Jesus will return. Just because we don't know when, doesn't mean we can't live in expectation.

I suppose current events are calling me to this attitude, as they are similar to events mentioned in connection with the beginning of the end times.

"You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places." Jesus said this and it's quoted in Matthew 24:6-7.

He also says that these mark the beginning of birth pains, birth pains that begin the end times.

I'm sure most Christians are wondering if the events occurring today are the beginning of the birth pains. And I'm sure some say that they are. But honestly, I don't think that's the important thing.

What's important is what you're going to do if they are. Whether they are or not, there's nothing we can do about that. We can't change what's going to happen, we can't stop it or make it start. Humans have never had control over that, nor will they ever. The only thing I have control over is myself; the only thing you have control over is you.

Thinking about end times events got me questioning what I would do if I knew the end was near. And for all I know, it is. It may or may not be the end of the world, but you never know when your life will end. Or anyone else's for that matter.

So keeping that in mind, the fragility of life, the quickness with which it can be gone, how will that cause me to live? What would I do differently if I knew that tomorrow I would wake up to a disaster outside my door? Or if I knew that I wouldn't wake up at all?

For one thing, I would pay a lot more attention to how I treated people. I've always tried to follow what most people call the "Golden Rule," but is that really enough? Because some people don't even treat themselves very highly.

No, I think it goes beyond treating people in the way you want to be treated. It's treating them as better than yourself, looking for ways to love and build up, looking for opportunities to give of yourself and promote God's kingdom. It's about seeing a need and meeting it, giving up what you want for the needs of someone else, treating people like they matter.

Selfless living is one of the great battles of our time, and something our society is terrible at. All we care about is self-promotion, self-preservation, self-improvement. Self, self, self. I challenge you, whether we'll live 10 days, 10 years or until we're 95, live your life for others and forget yourself.

What else would I do if I knew that the end was near? Forget wasting my time spending all my money or doing something I'd always wanted to do (like skydiving or deep sea fishing). I'd want to dig in where I was needed most, do some real good and enjoy life in that way. And I suppose this goes back to being selfless too...

I think I'd find the most pleasure in living life to the fullest in the way that Jesus calls us to live. And where to begin on that, there's a whole book about it. But what mostly comes to mind are the fruit of the Spirit,
"love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law."

And along with that, using my gifts, talents and abilities for the service of the King. He really has blessed all of us with so much, and to hold on to that, keep it for ourselves, is such a waste. But to give and to share, to participate, that should be our constant goal.

There are so many other things my selfish side would want to do. It tries to argue, "You still have so much to do, you'll live a long time!" But that attitude would cause me to put off what I know I should be doing. And at the end of all days, do I want to look at myself and realize the best thing I was at my core was lazy and selfish?

No matter when the end will come, I want to live in such a way that is worthy of that which I have been called to.

"To the one who is victorious and does my will to the end, I will give authority over the nations—that one ‘will rule them with an iron scepter and will dash them to pieces like pottery’ just as I have received authority from my Father." Revelation 2:26-27

1 comment:

Megan said...

I love your thoughts. Sometimes I feel like you put my thoughts into very eloquent writing.

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