Panic Measures or Strategic Planning?
It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Luke 12:37 (NIV)
Your phone rings. You pick it up to hear a familar voice, a long established friend, who informs you that he has just arrived at the airport and that he is on the way from there to your home to spend the weekend with you. How would you react? Perhaps there would be excitement as well as a measure of panic as your home would need to be prepared for your unexpected but welcome guest.
Now lets change the scenario - the same friend calls you and says he is coming anytime over the next 10 years, 30 years or even 50 years (I know, it takes a great deal of imagination to make this kind of leap but stay with me for a moment.. think this through). I tend to think it would be a lot harder to keep things prepared and ready for your guest if the friend could come knock on your front door any moment over a very long time period than if you had a few minutes warning.
There is a recurring phrase that Jesus used in the parables to describe the timing of His return - that of it being "after a long time" or "a long while." In Matthew 25:14-30 in the Parable of the Talents, verse 19 says, "Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them." Similarly, in Luke 20:9, the scripture says, "And he began to tell the people this parable: â€œA man planted a vineyard and let it out to tenants and went into another country for a long while..."
Come with me in your imagination for a moment. If we as Christians were given notice that our death or Christ's second coming was just hours away, I think it would produce a strong measure of panic as we sought to prepare for eternity. The truth however is that normally people are not given 24 hours notice regarding the time of our death and certainly, this is the case regarding the timing of the Second Coming of Christ (we do not know the day or hour)..
How would you spend your last day on earth? What would you do with your time? What phone calls would you make? If you had money in your bank account, what would you do with your check book? Where would family and the kingdom of God emerge in this equation?
Now let me ask this question - What if Christ was A LONG TIME COMINGâ€? What difference would it make if Christ allowed each of us to live a full life of say 90 years before He came back, or before we died?
What would you do with your life if you knew you would live a long time on earth and could develop a plan and make it happen? What in fact would be your plan? How would you prioritize your life in the light of living for the glory of God and His gospel? Think about the priorities of God, family, friendships, work, ministry...
What would you do with your time, talents and treasure if you knew you you were here on earth for a long time? - JS