I was recently a part of a discussion group where someone asked the question, "What would you do if you knew for certain that the return of Christ would happen in five years?" Most of the responses were expected ... pray more ... spend less on material things ... tell more people about Jesus ... do more ministry. A couple of answers surprised me ... read the book of Revelation more ... study prophecy ... pay attention to world events.
BIAS WARNING! I hope that my own personal bias here does not come across as judgmental toward those whose end times view differs from mine. I will work really hard to avoid that. My own personal bias is that I'm not one who spends a lot of time focusing on the prophetic in Scripture. I am more than happy to let other folks do that. The question I want to ask myself is, "If I am alive when Christ returns, what do I want him to find me doing?" That leads me to the second question I want to ask myself, "How can I do that today?" FOR ME, I am less interested in being found as a accurate interpreter of world events than I am in being an accurate demonstrator of the character of Christ. I want to be found, in the words of one of my church planter friends, loving people up close to Jesus.
That brings me to the most current world news of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. There are those who will focus on this event as another sign that we are living in the last days. I have no problem with that focus or interpretation. My question is, how can I respond in a way that loves people up close to Jesus? I don't know how much I will be able to do for the people in Japan. Certainly we should all pray and seek the best way to help in the days ahead.
But the news media do not report the Lifequakes that happen every day. There are people today for whom Japan could not be further from their minds, not because they are uncaring, but because they are experiencing their own lifequake. In our local school district, where my wife works, two teachers have died in the past week. There are families all over our small community for whom this has shaken their world. I am asking myself how I can best respond to these lifequakes that are going on within my sphere of influence and availability. Personally, I will be conducting one of the funeral services. That part is easy and will be over in a few days. The real question is, how can I be present to love people up close to Jesus during the aftershocks that will go on for weeks and months.
Christ is indeed returning. It may be in my lifetime. But He sees what I am doing today and there are so many opportunities to let people see who He is in me. How about you? What lifequakes are going on in your sphere in availability? You can't fix things, but you can love people up close to Jesus if you know Him personally.
Your life matters.