Friday, November 7, 2008

Matthew 24:1-35 "Are You Ready?"

Read Matthew 24:1-35.

"I tell you the truth, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down." NIV
I know Jesus is talking about the temple in this verse, but as I read it tied with the end of the age, it made me wonder where I put my time and talents. What are my priorities? The bottom line is, am I investing in people or in things.

Jesus gives us all kinds of signs to watch for the end of the age, but no one really knows when that will happen. Wars? We've got 'em. Famines and earthquakes? Check. The persecution? Some are already experiencing it. But it will become worse.

So when I'm facing the escalation of these events, where will I be - spiritually - to be able to stand them. Jesus says in verse 12, "Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." Is my love established enough to stand firm or will it grow cold? I guess that depends on what I love now. Am I living out love for people or for things and positions? What are my motives for what I do? If I am only gaining power and more stuff, when persecution takes root in America, will I stand to defend something that I know will soon all be gone? Why would I? My love has been placed on crumbling stones that will "be thrown down."

But, if I build my life and priorities on love for God and for people, then I have a reason to stand. My purposes are higher than the temporal. I'm dealing in the eternal. Interesting that this passage comes so closely after the Matthew 22:34-40 passage on the greatest commandment. If I claim to be a Christian and follow the ways of the Pharisees, my heart will definitely grow cold when facing opposition. But if I follow the greatest commandment, completely enmesh my life in loving God and people, I will be ready for whatever comes in the future.

Even though these signs of the end seem far away, I'm establishing who I am right now -- for good or for bad. We certainly can't live for self and thinking, "I'll change when I need to." The decision is now. " We are faced with a choice as the Israelite people faced when Joshua said to them in Joshua 24:14-15 (ESV), "Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

Further Thoughts:
  1. Read Joshua 24. He lead the people to make the right choice.
  2. So who do you serve? Analyze your activities, priorities, where you spend your money and time.... Do you use your time in love for God and people or in acquisition of money and things? Why?
  3. We are told that Jesus will come in the "twinkling of an eye." When that happens, we are either ready or we aren't? Are you ready? Why or why not?

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