Points to Ponder will be an occasional feature of my blog that will allow me to briefly share on random points that have come up in my life and interactions. It is not intended to be in-depth analysis but simply my thoughts on these points.
I was attending a dinner the other night and a fellow guest turned to me and asked: “Pastor, what do you think about all these disasters and conflicts going on? Do you think this is the beginning of the end of days?” This is not the first time I have been asked this or something similar so I decided to share a few thoughts.
While I would not say that this is not the “beginning of the end”, I believe that should not be the primary focus of the follower of Christ. It seems as I have studied church history, every generation of Christ followers has anticipated the imminent return of Jesus Christ. As true followers of Christ we should be prepared for “…the upward call of God in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 3:14) all the time. Yes, discerning the signs of the end times should keep us watchful, motivating us to even deeper obedience and more fervent evangelism.
However, I see a greater opportunity for the follower of Christ in times of trouble. I believe God gives us unique opportunities to intersect lostness and touch lives in these times. If you are going through the time of trouble how you respond will indicate your core beliefs. When followers of Christ respond with faith and peace it will often lead to conversational opportunities. There is a “…peace which surpasses all understanding…” (Php 4:7) The true followers of Christ have access to that peace. Those who do not, even though they cannot understand it, still desire to have it.
If you are one outside of yet witnessing the trouble, you have the opportunity to respond. We should, first and foremost, pray for those effected by the trouble. However, as true followers of Christ, we should not stop at prayer. We should, in whatever way we can, respond tangibly. For me, the best way to do this is directly person to person. Many times this is not possible. When it is not, other options should be pursued: donations, hospitality, phone calls, cards & letters, etc.
The key principle that should direct us, whether we are experiencing crisis or ministering to those experiencing crisis, comes from Colossians 3:17: “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”