If Jesus comes back today.

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On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled. Then Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet God…….

Exodus 19:16-17 ESV

I don’t recall noticing ‘the trumpet blast’ in previous readings through Exodus. This time, the connection to Jesus’ return with angels amid the sounding of the trumpet struck me.

I pondered, ‘You know, it’s not at all unrealistic for Jesus to arrive this very day!  If he does come back before midnight, then which worries and preoccupations of mine will have been a waste of emotional energy, as well as a waste of time?’

These days, you’d probably think first off, as I did, of Putin. We’re all praying for an end to this evil man and the suffering he is causing. Most of my rescue scenarios have God supernaturally multiplying the Ukrainian military forces to overwhelm the Russian army.  But Jesus’ second coming would end this war instantly.

Sometimes, I forget how creative our God is.  He has at his disposal infinite scenarios with perfect resources for every event he plans to permit.  We’re encouraged by the verse to believe and count on our God who does more than the wildest of our imaginings.

What other worries and issues would be OBE (overcome by events)?  Mike and I are making financial plans and decisions as his projected retirement approaches.  Planning is a good. God encourages us to steward well the resources he loans us and to ask for his wisdom. But when we let life’s natural uncertainties weigh us down instead of giving them to him, that is sin.  So, all the anxious, emotional churn over our financial future will turn out to have been for naught, if Jesus comes back this day.

Then there are the ‘concerns’ we have for certain family members, whether their health or their salvation.  Those worries would evaporate.

Here’s the logic I want to apply to my thought life:

  • If Jesus’ sudden arrival would eliminate the need to worry about specific issues, why not just hand over those worries to Jesus right now?

Then what will I think about? After praying for situations and people, I pray that I will remember to think on whatever is pure, lovely, admirable, praiseworthy, excellent and worthy of praise.  It doesn’t get much simpler than that!

Which one of the 10 servants are you?

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My time!

My rights!

My agenda!

My priorities!

My money!

My day!

My needs!

If I’m honest, this is how I think more often than I’d like to admit.  I know, in my head, that this thinking is not only false but wicked.  After all, I am a Christian. That means I was bought with a price – Jesus’ blood.  The Godhead swapped His life for mine.  He died so that I could live, but not live ‘business as usual’.

I KNOW this, but functionally I still think of these days and years in this body as belonging to me.

But the Father is gentle and continues to press His Truth into me through daily Bible reading.  As He did yesterday with Luke’s account of the ten servants and the money entrusted to them.  Here’s the first part of Jesus’ parable:

Luke 19: 11-15 The Parable of the Ten Minas

While they were listening to this, he went on to tell them a parable, because he was near Jerusalem and the people thought that the kingdom of God was going to appear at once. He said: “A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’

“But his subjects hated him and sent a delegation after him to say, ‘We don’t want this man to be our king.’

 “He was made king, however, and returned home. Then he sent for the servants to whom he had given the money, in order to find out what they had gained with it.

**

As the parable continues, the newly crowned king returned and immediately called for an accounting of resources entrusted to each of the ten servants in his absence.  Three men’s interviews are described.  Servants 1 & 2 had put the king’s resource to good use and turned a profit for him.  They received commendation and were invited to take on new jobs under the recently crowned king, each one with proportionally greater responsibility.  Clearly, they had proven their dependency and faithfulness. The third guy rather foolishly expressed his unfavorable and distorted view of the king as mean, hard, and demanding.  Out of fear, this steward had held on to the king’s money and had not put it to good use as instructed.

The king announces severe consequences and this man is carted off.

What got me thinking was the absence of any mention of the other seven servants.  What about them?  Did they simply squander the king’s money?  Did they abscond with it, fleeing from the kingdom?  I know that parables usually have one main teaching point. We should not, therefore, read too much into them.  But the actions of these seven unmentioned stewards have stimulated my imagination.

But more helpful than finding out how the story might have ended is reflecting on how to apply Jesus’ principles to me.

I want to be one of the two trusted servants.

I want to receive Jesus’ commendation and to know that I did what He wanted and that I pleased Him.

If that is my heart’s desire, then the first step is the sobering fact that this is NOT my life.

The parable simply put is about Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and departure to be crowned King.  The majority of the stewards, the Jewish people, did NOT want Jesus as their king.

If we take the numbers as an indication for today, then 20 % of those who know about Jesus believe Him and serve Him with gladness and faithfulness.  And they will be rewarded when He returns with newer, more challenging and fulfilling work in the new Kingdom.

Is it too far-fetched to consider THIS ENTIRE life on earth as a training ground in being a faithful servant in the Kingdom of God?  A life-long course in stewardship?  And if that is so, then nothing my hands touch is mine.  It all belongs to Him.  So what kind of questions should guide my daily, hourly thinking about the things He has entrusted to me?

For starters, something like: How best do I use this extra money?  How best shall I use the ‘free time’ I see in today’s schedule?  How best can I perform the job with which God has entrusted me this day?

May I be found faithful not only when the King returns but this very hour.

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