It’s tough being a minister in Minnesota. Just ask Rev. Ole and Pastor Sven, who serve at the First Independent Reformed Presby-Lutheran Church of Unity up north.
Just last week, they posted a sign in front of their church which said, DA END ISH NEAR! TURN YERSELF AROUND NOW BAFOR IT’S TOO LATE!
A car went speeding past them, and the driver leaned out his window yelling, “Mind your own business, you religious nuts!” The car rounded the curve, and the next thing they heard was the sound of screeching tires followed by a big splash.
Rev. Ole turned to Pastor Sven and said, “Do ya tink maybe da sign should yust say, ‘Bridge Out?’”
People are quite skeptical when they’re told about the last days. As soon as they hear “The end is near,” they tune out. I get it. So many nut jobs throughout history thought that they had cracked some secret Biblical code, uncovering the exact day and hour the Lord would descend.
Every time a cataclysmic event occurs, be it the precipitous fall of our society away from godly values, a seemingly uncontrollable virus spreading around the globe, wars, natural disasters, or strange happenings like the Twins’ bullpen actually leading the team to victory in extra innings, out come the doomsday prophets chanting that the end is near.
But yet here we all are, proving them wrong with each breath we take.
Jesus Himself warned against such speculation, saying “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Mark 13:32).”
For most of us, our problem isn't being overly aggressive trying to predict the day and time Jesus returns, rather, we don't think enough about the second coming. It doesn't seem worth worrying about with all of the other things we have going on in life.
But Jesus wants you to be mindful of His return. He said our ignorance about end times ought to keep us on our toes. He wants you looking out for it each day, praying often that He comes back quickly. As you do these things, you're reminding yourself that you are a citizen of the Kingdom of God, not the kingdom of man, and it will be easier for you to submit to God's law and live for His glory each day.
Christians are called to live in tension when it comes to how we think of the end. On one hand, our salvation is already fully accomplished in the work of Jesus Christ. In many ways, we’ve been living through the ‘end times’ ever since Christ victoriously stepped out of the grave 2,000 years ago and ushered in the Kingdom of God. Remember, God doesn't keep track of time the same way we do.
On the other hand, there’s another aspect to the Christian life. Our fully accomplished salvation is not yet fully realized here on earth. We’re still waiting for Christ to make all things new again, as He promised.
While we wait, we’re called to do the work we’ve been given well. That means we stay invested in our communities, and that we care deeply about the future of our country.
Yet at the same time, we’re to constantly keep the Aramaic word Maranantha in our prayers. It simply means come, Lord. It reminds us to always be ready to let go of our meager worldly accumulations.
Jesus warns us to keep watch, because we don’t know when the ‘owner’ will come back. Mark 13:36 in the OSV (Ole & Sven Version) says “If da owner comes back all of de sudden, don’t let him find ya sleepin’!”
Chad Werkhoven is the pastor at Worthington Christian Reformed Church. Today they’re reading Mark 13, in which Jesus teaches about the end times. Dig Deeper at wgtncrc.org/bible.