Revelation 22:12-20 (NKJV) -- "And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work.
All my life, I have been hearing that "the end is near." As a child, I can remember people talking about the things that were happening in the world and how it couldn't and wouldn't be long now. In cartoons and TV programs, a poorly dressed, scraggily looking man carrying a sign saying "the end is near" has become comic shtick, so it seems no one takes it very seriously. Many movies have been made about the end of the world, brought about by either natural or man-made disaster or alien invasion. Only a few have depicted the end of this world from a Biblical perspective, with the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
When I first started reading the Word and began to hear teachings about the end times, I admit that I felt a little frightened. I simply didn't want to think about the world coming to an end. Like a little child, I would pretend I wasn't hearing it. I was a new Christian, full of excitement about the future. I was a new mother, excited to watch my little girl grow up, to see her graduate, go to college, perhaps marry and have a family of her own. I wanted the world to be a safe, happy place where all that could happen. I also had things that I wanted to accomplish and places I wanted to see. I thought, okay Lord, I know that you are coming back one day, but could you wait until I get to see my daughter grow up and maybe even my grandchildren?
Fast forward about 15 years, and I have a little different perspective. I have grown and matured in my walk with Christ. I see the world in a different way. I see the things that are happening in the world and I think that it can't be long now. Instead of covering my ears or pretending that everything is okay, I say, "Come, Lord Jesus, come." The world is only going to get worse and I am really tired. I am tired of nothing changing and feeling powerless to bring about change. I am tired of evil being called good. I am afraid that the world is not going to be a safe place for my daughter and maybe my future grandchildren to live. Let's just skip all that bad stuff and go home. I am ready for my mansion, the place He has prepared for me. I am ready to lie at His feet. I am ready for no more tears, nor sorrow, nor crying, and no more pain (Revelation 21:4).
However, our God knows best. He knows that there are still many people we need to reach with His message of salvation. There are husbands and wives, children, friends and even nations that are not ready for the day of the Lord. It isn't meant for us to know the day or hour. Not even Jesus knows, but He waits for the Father (Mark 13:32). We are only meant to be ready for it and to be preparing others.
Psalm 119:28 (NIV) -- My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to your word.
The easy thing to do would be nothing, which is a response of the flesh and not of the spirit. We can go to church two or three times a week and keep hoping and praying that things will get better. We can maintain the status quo and just quietly sit and wait for the Lord to return, secure in our own salvation, but we were created to do more than that. Believe it or not I heard the most amazing words of wisdom from pop princess Taylor Swift on a TV show this week. She was mentoring young artists and helping them improve their performances. These may not be her exact words, but it's close. She said, "If you are not moving forward, you are backsliding."
In 2 Thessalonians 3:6-14, Paul addressed the people about their idleness. Some false teaching had been introduced that had the people believing that the Lord was coming back any day, so they felt they could just sit back and wait. They didn't have to plan, work or tend to responsibilities. Their idleness didn't bring them closer to God. Instead it drew them into sinful behavior. Instead of being busy, they became busybodies. Paul warned that theses people needed to "settle down and earn the food they eat." It is a warning we should heed today. Are we earning the food we eat? Are we doing our part in the Body of Christ?
Galatians 6:9-10 (NKJV) -- And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.
The right, and harder thing, to do is to not grow weary of doing good, as Paul suggests. I have been tired lately and I need to take responsibility for that. I know that I can rest in Jesus. (Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28) I can refresh myself in the Word. It takes action upon my part and yours. I look forward to the day of Christ's return, but I know that in the meantime I need to be about my Father's business. I have to do what I can to make this life a better place for me and my family. Evil only wins when we do nothing. I've heard preachers and teachers say it many times, and it is a true saying: we've read the end of the book and Jesus is victorious. That's all we need to know. We don't have to be afraid of what's happening or what is to come as long as we are trusting in Him.
Revelation 22:17 (NKJV) -- And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
We can still look forward to Christ's return, and it should inspire us to become the Church He is looking for upon his return. We should be saying "come Lord Jesus, come". We also should be saying "come" to the unsaved people of the world. Let him who hears, who thirsts, who desires come to the Lord. Let us be the Church that is ready to receive the harvest. Let's us be the Church that encourages and builds up, not one that beats down. We have to motivate the people of the Body, not shame them by telling them what they are not doing enough of for God. I don't want the Church to "tickle" anyone's ears. Share the truth and the love of God and then fan the flames. A plant grows and bears fruit when it receives plenty of food, water and sunlight. Like a plant, the Christian will grow and bear fruit with plenty of food (the Word of God), water (the Holy Spirit) and Son light.
Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV):
But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.