Every once in a while, I’ll see a car driving through traffic that has the bumper sticker on it that reads “Look busy, Jesus is coming soon.” I always laugh when I see that, purely because I’m certain Jesus cares less about our appearance of busyness than he does the state of our hearts, but in those six words, we see a note of something that we should remember: Jesus will return.
Since the moment when our Messiah ascended into heaven, His followers have looked expectantly toward the day when He will return, and many people have spent their lives try to predict exactly when this will happen. Paul wasn’t one of those people (from what we have of his writings) who sought to tell us the day and the time at which this return would occur, but he did believe that it would happen imminently. His whole approach to life, to ministry, and to how we viewed the societies with which he interacted was shaped by that understanding.
As we sit nearly two thousand years after Paul wrote his last epistle, we still are looking toward that day, and we are to do so expectantly: “The night is far gone; the day is at hand.” Unfortunately (from my perspective at least), we are in a period of extended twilight, where we can see and know that the day draws nearer, even as we continue to wait. Each day, each breath we take brings us ever closer to the moment in time when the sun will fully rise as the Son of God returns, yet where we are right now, we must wait. In our waiting, we also must choose to live either as those who still are in the darkness of night or as the children of God.