Last week, the thought hit me that life would be much more focused, much more realistic, much more purposeful, if I started every thought I spoke or wrote - whether from a pulpit or in common conversation - with the phrase:
"Jesus is coming back soon, so...." and then continued my thought.
Romans 13:11 says
"And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed."
What hits me in the week since is that I don't really understand "the present time." I've spent so much energy convincing myself and others around me that "we don't know the day or the hour" without ever switching my behavior around the truth Jesus was trying to convey with his warning of the unknown return: Because we don't know the day, live as if it's today. After all, it might be!
Ask yourself honestly: what would today be like if you really believed Jesus might return this afternoon? The day before me is a good example in two ways: My family and I are flying to Oklahoma tonight for a family Thanksgiving, and to say goodbye to a beloved uncle who stopped by his house two weeks ago for a quick rest. He relaxed into his chair, dozed off, and never woke up.
On the one hand, my wife and I will spend the day preparing ourselves to fly. With a 11-week-old, there's a lot to think about. But the imminence and relative assurance of our flight (we've already checked in!) will affect all our decisions today. And if I'm honest, I'm living today as if it's much more certain that I'll fly to Oklahoma than that I'll see Jesus descending on the clouds with fire.
On the other hand, my dear uncle George is now, as I write, living in the reality of the risen Jesus. If he were given just 10 minutes right this moment to make a public speech, what would he say? What would be his encouragement to those of us who are still waiting to see clearly (for we now see through a glass, dimly)?
Jesus is coming back soon, so... how will you live today? What will you worship? Who's needs will you meet? What will you buy? What will you dream?