The tension between living for today and looking for tomorrow is one of the realities of the Christian life. We often find ourselves caught between the here-and-now and the hereafter. On the one hand, we need to be ready for Jesus to come at any moment. On the other hand, we have God-given responsibilities to fulfill in this world in the meantime.
Preparing for Christ’s return is something each one of us must do for ourselves. No one else can get our hearts ready to meet God. You and I must do that for ourselves. Jesus, in view of His Second Coming, urges us to keep watching, Matthew 24.42; be ready, Matthew 24.44; and keep serving, Matthew 24.46. He left specific instructions about what we ought to be doing while we await His coming:
1. Witness for Him everywhere you go. Our Lord taught His disciples to be His witnesses everywhere, even to the farthest ends of the earth: Acts 1.8
2. “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel,” Mark 16.15. This command emphasizes the evangelistic and missionary nature of the ministry of the Church during the present era. We are to take the Gospel to the whole world.
3. “Repentance and remission of sins should be preached…among all nations,” our Lord declared in Luke 24.47. Calling men and women to repent and believe the Gospel is the two-fold nature of the evangelistic enterprise.
4. “Teach all nations, baptizing them,” Jesus said in Matthew 28.19. Making converts and discipling them in their walk with God is a major emphasis of the Church’s mission.
5. Build the Church in every generation. Jesus told His disciples He would build His Church with such power “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” Matthew 16.18. Jesus pictured the Church being on the march until He calls her home.
6. “Occupy till I come,” Jesus said in the parable of the talents: Luke 19.13. In this parable, the servants were to “put this money to work” until their master returned. We are to be busy about the Master’s business until He returns.
7. Remain faithful until He returns. Our Lord concluded His prophetic message in the Olivet Discourse by reminding His disciples to continue in faithful and wise service even though He might be gone a long time: Matthew 24.45 and 25.14-21.
In the meantime, we can live with our eyes on the skies, watching for Christ to come and with our feet on the earth, working for Him until He comes. This balance of expectation that Jesus could come at any moment and participation of serving Him faithfully until He comes is what the Christian life is all about.
Living in light of His coming keeps us focused on what is really important in life. It also keeps our attention on the balance between our present responsibilities and our future expectations.