“As Christians, should we worry about the great disturbances, confusion, and uncertainty of this world?” That’s a question we debated recently during our Tuesday morning gathering. My reply was, “Nope, not a chance!” What? Why would I say that? How about that, “..everything I needed to know I learned in Sunday School,” verse, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace–as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.” ~1 Corinthians 14:33. Thank you, Mrs. Patterson; my longtime and patient Sunday School teacher!
As pastors, teachers, disciples and believers we get caught up in all this ‘stuff.’ Albeit doctrine, church tradition and a few hundred other man-made things, yet it seems that no one ever asks what did Jesus have to say about (fill in your own blank)? In Matthew 6:33-34 He said, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
This is not a suggestion to us, it’s a declaration. “Do not worry about anything!” Most of the time we forget how clear Jesus was about our responsibilities to the world and according to Him, “..we are not of this world.” John 18:36, “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm.’“
So, what’s that mean for us? With the current status in the Middle East at near war and with Israel and the Palestinians lobbing bombs back and forth, how do we or should we reconcile these apparent biblical signs?
The reconciliation has already come, it’s been fulfilled. His grace has covered us all! There is no need for preparation, concern or any other demonic inspired threat we can make up. “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. I charge you in the presence of God, who gives life to all things, and of Christ Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that you keep the commandment without stain or reproach until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ,…” I Timothy 6:12-14.
Now don’t get me wrong, we still have a ton of work to do, but to sit around, i feel and worry and prepare for the end times is a waste of God’s time and ours. Jesus also said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” I believe that Mrs. Patterson referred to that as, “The Great Commission.” With that in mind, it doesn’t really give us a lot of time to sit around and worry.
We live in a world created by God. His hope is that we love and cherish Him as He does us. Our world is a scary place filled with hope and hopelessness. We live in a place where the vilest of things (celebrities, movies and TV shows) are the most popular. We’ve allowed 4 or 5 of the Ten Commandments to become routine and less law and more of a guideline. We’ve failed in our responsibilities as believers, parents and spouses yet God continues to love us unconditionally anyway.
The most powerful statement I can think of is the full version of John 3:16 – (14-16), “..so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him. For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
My wife Michelle has a statement of purpose she uses after a mistake, “What’s the next right thing?” We have the God of the universe pulling for us and we’ve made a mess of it all, yet He promised that He’d be with us even to the very end of the age. So, with that being the ultimate promise we have to ask ourselves, “What’s the next right thing?”