"Look! He comes with the clouds of heaven. And everyone will see him - even those who pierced him. And all the nations of the world will mourn for him. Yes! Amen!" Revelation 1:7 (NLT)
If the Lord sent a message from Heaven that clued us in on when Jesus would return, how would we handle that news? As Christians, we believe He is returning, but somehow that day always seems far off.
So, I ask you, if that date were one hundred years from today, would anything change? Almost all of us will have passed away from this earthly life by that time, and we know we will not live that long, so would we do anything different? Would we seek out anyone to share the Good News? Or would we think that the time is so far in the future that we have plenty of time? No, we won't be alive by then but what about our grandchildren or great-grandchildren? Is there anything that we would want to leave behind for them to find that would give testimony to our belief in Christ?
One hundred years does seem far away, so suppose the time of His returning was fifty years from today? Still, many of us will no longer be present here, but our children may. Do we assume that we have set a good enough example for them to follow? What do they see as they watch us navigating these days? Are we truly living the faith we profess? Would we make needed alterations in our lifestyles today or would we count on having plenty more years to do so? Are we confident that there will be time before our deaths to seek forgiveness from those we have wronged and to reach out to those we know have not accepted Jesus as their Savior?
If we knew that in twenty years we would see Him return in the clouds, would we be willing to "go and make disciples of all nations?" Could we find it within ourselves to leave comfort behind so that others might believe in Him and repent of their sins? If we were not able to go to other lands, would we be willing to walk across the street? Could we take a Bible and proclaim the Truth on the street corners? Would twenty years investing in the lives around us feel like too much, or not enough?
Ten years is a much shorter time than the hundred years we began with. Even ten years can feel like a lengthy time when we have so many responsibilities and goals to accomplish. How many of those ten years would we be willing to invest in sharing the Gospel? How much more time would we spend with our families and friends to be sure they had a personal relationship with the Savior?
If five years from today was the day that we would see Him face to face, how would we prepare? Would we examine our lives and begin to remove from our surroundings those things that we would not want to be found with? Would we stop listening to questionable music and watching movies that contained material that we would be embarrassed for Him to see us watching? Would we begin to spend more time with our Bibles and less time discussing sports scores? What would become most important?
I'm sure we would all be making some big changes if we knew the date was only one year away. We would definitely see the days counting down and begin to feel the urgency. At least I hope we would.
And what if that day was tomorrow? Would you be ready? Would you be trying to witness to everyone you could or would you hole up in your home with your family and just wait?
I know that this message is different from what I usually write. But, as Matthew 24:36 tells us, "However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows." So, in reality, He could return at any of these times or in ten minutes from now.
What we do at this very moment needs to matter for eternity's sake. While we may think we have plenty of time, we cannot know that for sure. Not only might He return at any time, but our own lives might end at any time. You cannot take for granted that everyone you know will lay their head upon a pillow tonight. They need to hear about Jesus. As do our neighbors, those who work for us, people we meet in public and even the poor homeless folks that we turn our heads away from when we see them on the street. We are all made in the image of God and He loves us all. The task He left us with was to tell everyone about Him. No matter how much time we have left, that is the most important thing.