…or it may end tomorrow, or the next, or several years from now.
While the scriptures may not require the special gnosis of a Harold Camping in regards to determining the time, they are crystal clear that the task of those who follow Jesus is to live as if the world may end in the next minute. Our waiting is not to be something special or unique based on a random prediction, but rather a way of life, in which we’re prepared for Christ to show up in our midst at any moment. We are to be like the prepared brides, saving the oil in our lamps while waiting for the groom to return, Jesus told us. That attitude should affect every part of our life.
Every so often I will find myself in a conversation with a brother (usually a brother, rarely a sister) in Christ who breathlessly asks me if I believe as they do that we are in the last days of the world. “Look at the signs,” they say. “Everything seems to point to the last days.” And as they talk, I remember hearing similar pronouncements in the 1960’s, the ’70’s, the 80’s and pretty much throughout my life. We may indeed be in the last days, but even if we aren’t, our lives are to be the same — looking for the presence of Christ in our midst on a day to day basis.
I, like many others, can easily find myself making fun of the prediction of the world’s end today, believing that the Bible is not some sort of dispensationalist code book, and holding fast to Jesus’ proclamation that no human knows the hour of his return. And yet, this morning I find my heart breaking a bit for those who have put their trust in another man’s special revelation, and whose longings of the heart are so deep that they seemingly would prefer to leave the bounds of this world rather than engage in the work of bringing God’s kingdom here on earth as it is in heaven. Their’s is an isolationist faith which fails to see the handprints of the divine in the stuff of this world, and are looking for escape, not redemption. And in those longings, they have placed their hopes and dreams in the ramblings of an engineer with a Bible rather than in a living faith in a Christ who is present with us right now.
Yes, Christ may come today (and if Camping’s predictions are correct, Christ should have already done so throughout most of the world already today).
But if he doesn’t, it doesn’t change how people of faith are to live their lives.
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