March 11, 2009

While We Wait

2009 1507 page7 capOT LONG AGO A FRIEND OF MINE DIED AFTER STRUGGLING SEVERAL years with cancer. Before he died he confessed to me his disappointment at the prospect of not being alive to meet Jesus when He returns. Beneath that sentiment was the sense that if he had only worked harder, if the church had only taken its responsibility more seriously, he could’ve been among those who will greet Jesus without experiencing death.
Now, with the world’s economy slipping closer and closer to total chaos, with more voices making hysterical prophecies relative to environmental disasters, and with intractable military struggles that kill, injure, and displace hundreds of thousands of people around the world, people
are wondering, Is this it?
Maybe. We should always be prepared for the earth’s final crisis.
But more important than being alive to witness Christ’s return is living each day as those who fully embrace the principles of God’s kingdom. While many in the world are motivated by power, greed, violence, fear, and selfishness, Christ’s followers are known by their love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal. 5:22, 23).
Believing that Jesus will someday return to re-create this worn-out planet into one in which every wrong will be made right, we now have the unique opportunity of putting into practice the principles of God’s kingdom.
There will be preaching and teaching, yes; but there will also be efforts to provide literacy, medical aid, food, clean water, and shelter.
Then, when Jesus returns—be it sooner or later—we’ll be able to say to Him, as He said to His Father at the close of His earthly ministry, “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4).
Stephen Chavez is managing editor of the Adventist Review.