“It’s surreal, living like this,” I said to my wife Clarissa one day after she had passed the 37 week mark of her pregnancy. I was referring to the fact that our baby could come anytime (although it wasn’t likely).
It made me think of the times we are living in. By all appearances our Lord Jesus could come any day. Life is a mixture of knowns and unknowns, the definition of surreal. We know that Jesus will return in His glory but we don’t know when. Many of us believe and no one can disprove that Jesus could come any day. The anticipation is real. The fact that Jesus is returning is as real as was the fact that my wife was pregnant and was going to have a baby.
It made me stop and think.
There was a lot of preparation work to do when the baby’s due date was approaching. And even from the first day that we knew we were going to have a baby, there were changes to our lives. As the day approached the anticipation was high. Friends were often inquisitive and we eagerly awaited signs that the little one was ready.
There is also a lot of preparation to do for the day of our Lord. What am I doing to prepare? I think of three areas of focus. First, how is my relationship with the Lord? Second, how are my horizontal relationships? And third, how am I doing at telling others about my Lord?
In Matthew 22 Jesus tells the parable of the wedding feast. The king had the feast for the marriage of his son all prepared. He invited the guests, those he knew, friends of the king. But they were busy with their lives, their farms and businesses. Some even killed the messengers. What about me? Do I get so busy with my life, with good endeavors, that I fail to respond to the Master’s invitation to commune with Him? If I don’t prioritize His invitations to daily relationship in the busyness of life will I be invited to His final Feast?
In Matthew 25 Jesus gives us a glimpse of the Day of Judgment. There will be a separation of all the nations and people. There will be those whom He will invite into the prepared kingdom with all its glory--no one will turn down that invitation. The reason for their inclusion given here is based on how they treated those around them. The hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and the imprisoned. And it goes without saying that how husbands live with their wives (1 Peter 3:7) and how Christians treat one another (1 Thess. 5:14, 15, John 13:35) are also important preparations for being invited to the Kingdom.
There will be others on that day of separation who will not receive the kingdom because of their failing to serve the ‘least of these’. Even he who causes a little one who believes in Christ to sin is deserving of death by drowning (Matt. 18:6). How well am I serving those around me?
And finally, as John 13:35 implies, our love for one another is a witness. There are a multitude of ways that we can share the love of Jesus with those around us. I am often held back by my own insecurities and defenses. Help me Lord to find my security in You!
Jesus said that whoever is ashamed of Him and His words, He will be ashamed of that person on the final day, when He returns in His own glory (Luke 9:26). Jesus said many things; He spoke about my identity in Him. There is a lot to hold on to, many blessings. There is also a lot not to be ashamed of. There is not a word Jesus said that I should fear to believe and live out.
I pray that I will prepare for the coming of our Lord by prayer and communion with God, by service and love to those around me and by being a faithful, Spirit-filled witness.
Written by: E.B.