The world is in a mess. People are talking about signs of the end-times, the second coming, and apocalypse. There are people who even claim to know exactly when the end of times events will take place. There are even some who have claimed to have known this more than once, but I digress. Every generation has had its signs of the second coming and every generation has been wrong. Why do we entertain the notion that we can somehow know what Jesus told us we couldn’t know? Jesus told us, “But about that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Matthew 24.36 NRSV. So why do we use so much of our time in this folly?
As Christians the exact time of Jesus’ return is unimportant. We are to be ready, like the ten bridesmaids in Matthew 25.1. We do not know when Christ will return nor do we know when our lives will be asked of us. We need to focus ourselves on the tasks at hand. We should live our lives in a constant state of prayer. This is not as hard as one might think because anything worth doing can be done prayerfully. Living prayerfully allows us to grow closer to God. I deepens our relationship with Christ and allows the Holy Spirit to guide us into action. Living prayerfully opens our eyes to the needs of the people around us; needs that we may be able to answer.
Prayerful living also reminds us to practice our other spiritual disciplines. Pray, fasting, meditation, daily devotionals, reading the scriptures, and intentional acts of kindness are a few examples of spiritual disciplines. We gather together as Christians to enable each other to go forth to the other spreading the story of Jesus and his teachings, love, and compassion, out to the world. We can be part of the reason the world is in a mess or part of the solution. Christian living suggests that we spread peace, grace, and love out to our neighbors whether that neighbor is next door or the other side of the planet. Our neighbors are everywhere and come in all shapes, sizes, genders, colors, and beliefs. We know our mission, given from Jesus to make disciples spreading the word and knowledge of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit out to the world but we must not busy ourselves. We must not busy ourselves with the mission of the United Methodist Church either. That is to makes disciples for the transformation of the world. We must not get busy. We must get productive! Productive helping our neighbors with their needs and modeling Christian behavior. Productive righting injustice. Productive witnessing to Jesus’ Gospel message.
We can busy ourselves worrying about the end-times. We can busy ourselves with thoughts and actions directed for our benefit alone. We can busy ourselves worrying about the mess we find the world in today. However we could also replace all that worry and focus on the tasks that Jesus would have us do, being productive rather than being busy. Let’s go forth in a prayerful spirit and honor and glorify God in all we do and say so that the world may be a better place.
That’s this pastor’s opinion. What’s yours?