I’m rushing about the house, throwing toys in a box, vacuuming up cheerios that litter the floor, checking on the roast in the oven, wiping smudges off of tables and counters, and then quickly looking in the mirror to wipe the sweat off my brow and freshen up a bit. Daddy just called and he’s coming home early. I haven’t been paying attention to my jobs around the home so I’m rushing to get them done before he comes in the door – not out of duty, mind you, but out of love. I’m sewing that button on his pants quickly because I want him to know that I care about what concerns him, but why didn’t I do it earlier in the day? He could be here any minute now…
Look into the distance far enough and you will see it – dark thundering clouds, laden with promise – the promise that the end is near. Imminence is the knowledge that our Heavenly Daddy could walk through the door at any minute. Would we be ready? Are we procrastinating some things He’s asked us to do? Are our lives a little messy right now or have we been fulfilling His purposes for us?
Pondering these questions and meditating upon imminence makes me think of words that I want to define my life not just at the end when He walks in the door but for all of my days. How ought I to live knowing that Jesus’ return is soon?
I want to be missional (despite the fact that this term is unfortunately linked with theology I do not espouse).
I want to be intentional.
My life should be purpose driven.
And, I want to live deliberately.
1 Peter 4:7- 8 says “The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”
Specifically, Peter teaches us to be of sound judgment, to be sober and alert about what is going on in the world around us. We need to be aware so that we can PRAY. This is the first concern we must address – are we intentional about praying for God’s purposes to be completed on the earth? Jesus asked his disciples to pray for workers to come into the harvest and we need to join Him in this prayer. Beseeching the Lord on behalf of an unsaved loved one will always be in the will of the Father.
Our prayers will hasten the coming of the Lord because the Lord hears our pleas for justice and for mercy. Revelation 8 gives an amazing picture of the power of prayer; it is like incense before the Lord, a beautiful sacrifice before the altar. But, it is more than that. The bowl filled with prayers is thrown down to the earth and that’s when the end times begin. The fulfillment of our prayers will come when the time is ripe and the bowl is filled to overflowing with the prayers of all the saints of all time. They will come crashing down to the earth in peals of thunder and lightening and the days of the end will begin. Isn’t that amazing? Our prayers (along with millions of others) will bring in the end of time!
If the day is near, we must be known by our love. There’s no time for arguing in the family of God – He might be coming in the door at any moment. These are days when love must be paramount in our lives.
2 Peter 3:9-14 continues with more ways to live under the clouds heavy with imminence. Live holy and godly lives because that day will come like a thief in the night. If I knew He might show up at any moment, it might affect my behavior. I wouldn’t want Him to come on a day when I’m letting my irritations rule my actions or when my pride is inflated or when any host of sins are controlling me. Imminence provides a purpose for holiness – we know He’s always present, but when we imagine His face in front of ours, we want to be blameless.
When will the end come? No one knows (and if he says he does, he’s contradicting Jesus). You see, God is patiently waiting and hoping for all to come to repentance. The earth is ripe for the harvest, but only God knows when the fullness of time will be complete. The only factor which holds Him back is the repentance of men. He is waiting for more to follow Him, so as His fellow-workers; we must be missional about everything we do.
What if the end were today? Would that change the way you think and act?
Father, I must remember that the days are numbered and treasured. My wish is to be about Your purposes.
P.S. If we are about His purposes, be assured that we will be in the middle of a battlefield. Satan won’t bother us if we are busy doing our own thing, but when we get involved in God’s work, he shows up as a fierce enemy.