It seems lately that I’ve been hearing a lot about the “end times.” Prophecy is a fascinating subject, and my purpose here is not to be offensive to any of my friends who enjoy that study. Even Jesus had some important things to say about the end of the world. But I do want to issue a caution.
Recently I read the Olivet Discourse, the speech Jesus made from the Mt. of Olives just before His death and resurrection. In this speech He had a lot to say about things that were coming. He talked of persecution, devastation, destruction, wars, famines, earthquakes. But then He said this.
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” (Mt. 24:36)
And later in v. 42 He tells us to stay alert because we don’t know when it will happen.
I get pretty uncomfortable when I hear people who have “figured out” how and when the end time will be. Warnings are issued with certainty. “Secret” messages in scripture are “decoded.” And little by little the church loses credibility and its ability to have a meaningful voice in this world.
We get so caught up in worrying about the future that we miss the mission that Jesus called us to – living today as the light of the world and the salt of the earth.
I don’t know when the end will come. When Jesus was here He said He didn’t either! His talk about the end times made up a very small percentage of His broader message. I don’t think His goal for us was to get wrapped up in worrying about how and when the end would come.
I believe His main desire was for us to be disciples making disciples in this present world, to be busy about Kingdom business, to be doing the mundane but necessary things that develop us into the people of God who will be ready when He shows up!
Do I believe Jesus is coming? YES! Do I think there will be signs of the end of the world? Absolutely! Am I worried about them right now? No. I’m not. Yes, I will do my best to stay alert and be aware. But today I am living for the Kingdom. Today I will avail myself of the means of grace that will continue Christ’s transforming work in my life. Today I will do my best to share that grace with others and shine God’s light into a dark world.
Today I will live for Jesus. Period. And when He comes, I’ll be ready and waiting.
Sonja Vernon, RN, BSN is the Vice President for Student Affairs at GBSC. She has been part of Student Affairs since 2000 and is passionate about working with college students.
She also speaks at women’s ministries and youth events.