Living with The End in mind

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is dbr-podcast-link-graphic-e1650918496934.jpg

David Bahn-Reflections Podcast

Now concerning how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters, we don’t really need to write you. For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape.

But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded. Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.

For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger on us. 10 Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. 11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 [NLT]

Red Canna Lily | Dearborn, MI | August 2022

Diane and I have been talking about our backyard. We both want to improve the landscaping. Maybe  we’ll move our fountain, plant a tree, and move some things off our patio into a storage shed. As we were talking about these things, I had a sudden inspiration: “Begin with the end in mind!” I said this with a triumphant tone, proud of myself that I had remembered this sage advice for leaders and planners. Where do you want to go? What do you want to accomplish? How will it look if you succeed? Begin with the answers to those questions in mind.

Take that thought to an even higher level; higher as in thinking in heavenly terms. This is the opening thought here as Paul brings this first letter to the Thessalonians to a close. He has had this in mind the whole time he is writing to them. They apparently had some confusion and concerns about Jesus’ Second Coming. Paul has addressed those fears and concerns. Now he will point them toward living faithfully until that time…with The End in mind. And we’re in the same place now.

He reminds us all that The End will come unexpectedly. “When people are saying, ‘Everything is peaceful and secure,’” he writes The End will come. It will also be at those times people are crying out, “How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?” (Psalm 13:1). It will be in the middle of a prayer, or perhaps, even in the middle of a sentence we wish we had not spoken. It will be completely unexpected. Unplanned for. Unannounced. Uninvited by many. Welcomed gladly by some who have been crying, “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20). 

Then Paul says we who are in the know about these things will not be surprised. I’m thinking we may well be startled at The End. We may even be a bit overwhelmed. But we should not be surprised. People throughout the centuries since Jesus’ death and resurrection have been expecting his return, The End. People have expressed great distress about the way things are going in the world during the time of the Early Church, during the Spanish Inquisition, the reign of Stalin, and Hitler and others. World events are constantly pointing toward The End. The End is coming, we say.

But it hasn’t yet come…or at least it hasn’t come if you are in fact reading this now. Paul has just laid out the calling to love sincerely, speak truthfully, and serve faithfully. Now he says, say awake the whole while. Don’t go to sleep at the wheel. The End will come. We wait for it not in a sad attitude of fatalism, but wide awake with anticipation and hope. We wait for it anticipating a glorious day when we will be with Jesus forever. Come, Lord Jesus!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: