It’s painful to read the news these days, isn’t it? Nearly every day there is another scandal, another moral failure, another threat from a foreign dictator, another natural disaster, or another shooting. There are wars and rumors of wars. Is the end almost here? Has things gotten so bad that the only conclusion for the religious and secular alike is that our days on this earth are numbered?
What are we to do in this uncertain, violent, and fearful time? It’s tempting to turn off our televisions, close our blinds to the outside world, and turn our hearts inward. Perhaps, we think, our families will be safe if we keep the outside world at a distance.
However, talk of the end of the world certainly didn’t start with the Cold War, terrorism, or the invention of the atom bomb. In fact even in the time of Jesus people were asking: Is the end here? But rather than giving commands to build bomb shelters or to move to the desert and live off the grid, Jesus gives his followers a much different command.
As the world around us gets more and more broken, Jesus declares that the gospel “will be proclaimed throughout the whole world.” (Matthew 24:14). And in the end when we all stand before the throne of God, Jesus will honor those who fed the hungry, clothed the naked, and welcomed the stranger. (Matthew 25:31-46).
Like a firefighter entering a burning building, as the world around us falls apart we are to run into it. In these uncertain times we are called not to hide but to carry the hope found only in Christ to a broken, hurting world. As the rest world turns its back, we we are to open our hands and our hearts to serve and care for the lost and vulnerable.
The needs and hurting aren’t only overseas or in another city somewhere. They are here in our own backyards. Have you met the new guy at work or the troubled kid living in your neighborhood? Maybe God has given you the opportunity to make a difference in their lives. Do you have the courage to share the best news in the history of the world to someone who has not yet met Jesus yet?
Maybe the end is near. Or perhaps it is still a ways off. Either way, God’s got work to do for those who follow him.