Monday, 4 June 2012
HOW SHALL WE LIVE IN THESE TURBULENT TIMES?
The political upheavals in North Africa and the Arab states, earthquakes in Haiti and Christchurch and the triple catastrophe which hit Japan (earthquake, tsunami and nuclear fallout) clearly reinforce what Jesus predicted as signs of the beginning of the end: “wars and rumours of wars … earthquakes in various places … all these are the beginning of birth pains” (Matthew 24:6-8).
More recently, the eurozone sovereign debt crisis is threatening to escalate into a global financial crisis. Clearly, God is shaking the earth as never before (Hebrews 12:26).
The earth is like a spaceship hurtling into outer space at breakneck speed towards the day when Christ returns. The difference from Star Trek is that all the Captain Spocks (world leaders) cannot seem to fix a rocking craft that has clearly gone out of control.
How then shall we live?
Peter exhorts us to be alert and sober that we may pray, to love one another and utilise whatever gifts or resources God has given us to glorify Him (1 Peter 4:7-11).
Paul instructs us to live circumspectly, make the most of every opportunity, seek to understand God’s will for our lives and be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:15-18).
And in order that the Gospel may reach every nation (Matthew 24:14), we have to play our part in the Great Commission, whether it’s to go, pray or give financial support to those who go (Matthew 28:18-20).
The parable of the ten virgins warns us to be numbered among the wise virgins who, ever watchful of the bridegroom’s return, had oil for their lamps.
Being watchful is not quite easy to figure out. You might say, “Bills have to be paid, food has to be laid on the table, children have to be educated. How can I just watch?”
But we’re told not only to watch but to occupy ourselves productively until He returns, whether it is serving Him or engaging in whatever trade we’re called to. Won’t there be two men working in the field when Christ returns and one is taken, one is left (Matthew 24:40)?
Watching does not imply twiddling our thumbs as we gaze towards the heavens. It implies a God-consciousness in our lives, not just doing our own thing.
The ones who were eating and drinking, and marrying and giving in marriage in the days of Noah (before the flood) had clearly excluded God in their lives. They were swept away when the great deluge came.
And Jesus warns us not to have that same spirit of reckless abandon so that we won’t be caught off guard when He returns.
Someone has said, “Live as if Christ can come any moment. Plan as if Christ will come in a thousand years. For to God one day is as a thousand years.” No one can accurately predict the future. We can only get a sense of the times and seasons we’re living in.
Even so, this has to be fulfilled before Jesus returns: “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come (Matthew 24:14).