Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come.
The first event happened at my church after worship. A man who I deeply respect told me that last year he had been given just 36 months to live. The doctors have tried several medications and procedures to extend that number, but the bottom line is that he is living on borrowed time. What struck me is the calm and matter-of-fact way he told me. Yes, there was a glint of tears in his eyes – but all that was overwhelmed by the conviction of peace that came across.
My second conversation happened with my father. I called him and as usual we talked about a whole range of topics – from family to politics to religion. We started talking about the end times – specifically how he believes that the rise of Islam in the world will lead to a final biblical conflict. I respect his insights, and in many ways agree with him that the Muslim faith will continue to present a challenge to Christians the world over.
Be it our own personal end of life that is brought on by disease, age, accidents, and other causes or by the biblical apocalypse that finally puts an end to this fallen world – there is indeed an end of our life on this planet. Are we ready? That really is what both discussions had in common. Jesus was very clear that no one knows the appointed time. We cannot even trust the signs that point to the end. But we can trust that there will be an end.
In the last few months I have let my alertness – my heeding – slip. I have not attended to the Word of God as I should. I have prayed only in need – not in desire to be in fellowship with my Creator. I have allowed the wants and needs of this world get in the way of the necessities of a spiritual life. It was me that was living on borrowed time. Quite frankly, I am thankful for the extension
But counting on such continuances is unfaithful at best and outright dangerous at worst. None of us should count on tomorrow to get things together – for Christ might come today. I should not sin today and seek forgiveness tomorrow – for the runaway car might hit me on the way home. As a Christian, should I not live as the end was now?