There are certain ways to tell whether you’ve been watching too much news these days. One indicator would be sitting through a story of someone predicting that we are in the final days and approaching the end of the world as we know it. That story prompts the question: Is this truly the end of the age?
There’s a paradox here worth considering. First, we should be prepared at all times, because God will do as he pleases when he pleases. Second, with that readiness, we shouldn’t give a single thought as to the exact day and hour.
Jesus used stories and parables in certain situations to teach, providing lessons that would endure so that generation after generation could benefit from God’s word. He also spoke plainly in order to be crystal clear on what he wants us to understand. The latter approach applies to his teaching on when to expect the end of the age.
As a result of this clarity, we can take away two words to the wise:
- Don’t try to predict the exact moment, because you simply can’t know.
- Be ready for the end time at all times, for the same reason as number one.
There are two ends in this life that matter. One is the end of our world; the other is our own personal end in this life on earth. Since we can’t predict the exact timing of either one, our best positioning is total readiness for both.
Use God’s Ten Commandments as a checklist of sorts for a starting point to make sure you are ready, but don’t end there. Use the two great commandments as well and begin checking your score.
Only you and God know whether you really love God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul and all your strength. That should translate into daily priorities at home and work. It includes spending time alone with God in worship and praise, in thanksgiving and intercession.
Strengthen your understanding of that love by learning from God’s word. Since God is the Master, listen closely for his commands and obey them. How you use your God-given time, talent and treasure will indicate your level of faithfulness as his servant.
In the area of loving others as yourself, start with family and move outward. Since charity begins at home, show that love by spending time with your spouse and children. Your spouse should feel God’s unconditional love through you. Give your children heaping helpings of the same love God has for you.
Next, consider how you treat your coworkers and business associates. God’s love should emanate from every fiber of your being in business dealings regardless of their size and importance to your organization. Pray for coworkers, clients, customers and suppliers just as you would appreciate their prayers. Have God’s word ready to share with others to encourage, instruct and admonish appropriately.
Check your readiness to do these things. It helps to have a friend who is strong in faith to provide feedback and reflection on where you stand. That can make a significant difference in clarity and focus on what remains to be done before you stand fully prepared for whatever God may have in store. Knowing that we live and breathe and have our being at God’s pleasure should be a sufficient reminder that his call may come at any time.
Put your eternal affairs in order now. That way, regardless of what the world appears to be doing or not doing, you have made the wisest use of your time and energy, at least in the eyes of God.