Dr. Phil: Well it’s hard to believe that it is the year 2020… .or put another way, we are one fifth of the way through the 21st Century! It makes me recall conversations I had with my father regarding his own perceptions of the future and the passage of time.
My father was born in 1915 – and passed away in 2017 – and so let’s just say he “did some livin.” Even up to his latter years he remembered his 1935 salvation experience with emotion. He also recalled that the prevailing thinking at the time was that Jesus would be coming back so soon that it would not make much sense to go to university. It was more important to just get out there and get people saved (of course we understand that these two ideas are not mutually exclusive or contradictory). So he (and many of his generation) where surprised when they lived to a ripe old age and even saw the 21st century with their own eyes. As he looked back he realized what Paul had written to the Thessalonians. Believing in Jesus’ imminent return should not cause us to do nothing or have a misplaced sense of evangelistic duty.
While the pendulum may have swung the other way and we don’t hear much about Jesus imminent return these days, I always took a simple lesson from my Father’s experience: Believe and be prepared for Jesus’ return, but be diligent to keep on keeping on in the meantime. By this I mean being that salt and light wherever we may be; being that witness of the Good News in whatever profession, education, or stage of life that we find ourselves.
Before that trumpet sounds there is still much to do. This however does not mean we have to serve at a frenetic pace trying to “save as many as possible.” After all, we are just the witnesses – he is the one that does the saving. It’s pretty simple, we just have to do our part to be witnesses of this Good News. . that same Good News that could cause my Father’s eyes to mist up at 102, some eighty years after he became a follower of Jesus.
Not sure if I will still be around in the 2050s or 2060s. . ..but if I am, I would like to think that will have been faithful and fulfilled God’s purposes for my life. I am sure you feel the same way at whatever stage of life you may be. I can’t really think that far ahead, but I can commit to being faithful in 2020, one day at a time, and leave the future in his hands.
As Paul wrote the Thessalonians nearly 2000 years ago, “May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming or our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.” Sure sounds like pretty words for us to start the new year.