A thoughtful individual said, “Live as though Christ died yesterday, rose today and is coming tomorrow.” This does put some excellent perspective on the importance of the Lord’s death, resurrection and second coming, doesn’t it? It keeps us from any tendency to think of the first two as distant, far-removed events of the past, while it encourages greater thoughtfulness, anticipation and preparation for Christ’s second coming. Titus 2:13 does speak of the “blessed hope and glorious appearing of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ.”
Throughout the years it seems many have been wrongly preoccupied with the timing of the second coming of Jesus when we all ought to be more concerned about readiness when He does! Concerning timing, our Lord plainly says “no one knows” (Matthew 24:42-44; Mark 13:32-33). With the matter of readiness, God’s word gives us plenty for consideration. Let’s focus on 3 practices for living in view of the Lord’s return (and Lord willing, we’ll examine 4 more soon in another Mondays With Mike).
Be Alert and Ready. Matthew 24:46 says of such a person: “Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.” And the parable of the wise and foolish virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 marvelously illustrates this truth as well. Will the Lord find us vigilant, careful and watchful and prepared at His return? (Luke 18:8).
Use What God Has Graciously Given You. Buried talents and misappropriated gifts show not only a flawed view of God’s blessing and grace; they show a serious lack of foresight in living in view of the Master’s return (cf. Matthew 25:14-30). We all must be good managers of God’s gracious gifts (1 Corinthians 4:1-2; Luke 16:10-13). What kind of stewards are we of the time, money and talent He has given?
Be Kind and Benevolent to the Needy. Jesus accentuates this practice in Matthew 25:31-46. Compassionate care given to the hungry, to the thirsty, to strangers, to those lacking warm clothing, to the sick and to those in prison will have mattered to the Lord when He comes. Compassionate care was an essential aspect of Christ’s mission (cf. Luke 4:16-21) and it ought to be at the heart of those who wear His name too. It’s crucial to “pure and undefined religion” (James 1:27). Have we been like our Redeemer toward the hurting and needy or have we been more like the rich man was toward Lazarus? (Luke 16:19-31).