Wednesday, June 01, 2016

GM2016: Obedience, not speculation

As I've shared before, this year I'm slowly working through a daily reader called Consuming Fire: The Inexorable Power of God's Love - it's adapted from sermons by the 19th century Scottish Christian author, George MacDonald.

And I'm loving it. Let me share a recent passage with you.

MacDonald has been reflecting on the parable of the widow and the judge in Luke 18, which ends with the ominous question: "when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" (18:8) MacDonald writes,
The Lord seems here to refer to his second coming - concerning the time of which, he refused information; concerning the mode of which, he said it would be unexpected; but concerning the duty of which, he insisted it was to be ready: we must be faithful, and at our work. Do those who say, 'lo here are the signs of his coming', think to be too keen for him, and spy his approach? If, instead of speculation, we gave ourselves to obedience, what a difference would soon be seen in the world! Many eat and drink and talk and teach in his presence; few do the things he says to them! Obedience is the one key of life. (Consuming Fire, April 29th)
His talk about the second coming brings to mind the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25 and the parable of the man returning from a journey in Mark 13, not to mention the times Jesus said "about that day or hour, no one knows..." (Also, see 1 Thess 5:1-2!) Instead of ignoring Jesus and trying to guess the day or hour anyways, instead of end-times speculating, we should give ourselves to obedience and see what a difference that could make on this planet.

In other words, instead of staring into the sun, looking for a glimpse of a kingdom Jesus assured us we won't see coming, why don't we put our money where our mouth is every time we repeat the Lord's Prayer and say "thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven"?

Why don't we pursue obedience instead of speculations? (The one Jesus encouraged, the other he actually discouraged!) Maybe then we'd start to get glimpses of that Kingdom - only not off on the horizon but in our neighborhoods and prisons and nursing homes - as the Holy Spirit works in us and through us to transform hearts and lives and transform the world. "On earth," just like we always pray.

'Will the Son of Man find faith on earth?' If we take our Lord's Prayer seriously, if we take our obedience seriously, the answer can only be "yes."

And what a difference would soon be seen in the world.

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