Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Gordan Runyan
Religion columnist 

Do right while you're waiting

 

April 11, 2018



One of the most debated topics within Christian theology is “Eschatology,” or the study of last things, the end-times.

These discussions get heated, but we generally agree that we can hold different opinions without having to accuse each other of heresy.

I can acknowledge your right to be wrong, and we can still be brothers in Christ’s kingdom.

However, Jesus did warn about some dangerous errors with regard to his Second Coming. These are not so much errors regarding how we think unfulfilled prophecy will be fulfilled. They are errors regarding our actions and attitudes while we wait for it all to play out.

Let’s look at three of them, beginning with Christ’s teaching at Matthew 24:44-51.

Jesus teaches with a parable and rhetorical questions, about how servants should wait for the return of their master, when they have been placed in charge of his house in his absence. The good servant, who will be rewarded, is diligent in obeying the wishes of the master. The evil servant, though, thinks the master won’t return for a long time (24:48) and begins treating his fellow servants horribly, even setting himself up as the new master. He is caught off-guard by the master’s return, and pays a steep price.

Here’s the lesson: Whatever your eschatology, if it causes you to think that Judgment Day is so far in the future, you shouldn’t be concerned about it, you are in for a rude awakening. “Pastor, I’ll repent and seek forgiveness later, on my death-bed.” Good luck with that.

The next warning is found in the parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. They are waiting to be taken to a wedding feast. Five are wise and have enough oil for their lamps in case the wait is long. Five are foolish and take only a little oil.

The foolish five had a self-assured belief that the appointed time must be very soon. Their thinking was short-term. Long-term provision made no sense, because they thought a delay was inconceivable. If you are convinced that Christ is returning soon, beware that this confidence doesn’t cause you to view all long-term work, planning, and investment as “polishing brass on a sinking ship.”

The last warning follows, in Matthew 25:14-30, and the famous parable of the talents, ending with the punishment of the servant who was left with a single talent and buried it. He claims he buried it out of fear (25:25) but his master knows it was out of laziness (25:26).

Whatever your view of the end times, understand that Christ expects you to be “turning a profit” with whatever he has given you in the meantime. Profit nearly always results from present effort and sacrifice, in view of a longer-term goal. Don’t let your nifty, four-color, end times prophecy wall-chart talk you into hunkering down and merely waiting to escape.

Nothing in the Scripture promises extra crowns to the one who best figures out Bible prophecy before it’s fulfilled. But, we are warned about the importance of diligently pursuing greater obedience to God’s will in all things while we wait. When he comes for you, let it be an interruption in your efforts to expand his kingdom.

Gordan Runyan is the pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Tucumcari. Contact him at:

[email protected]

 
 

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