As with all of life, there are tensions to be dealt with.* For the last few weeks, we’ve been talking about the needs right in front of us. This week I would like us to lift our gaze and look down the road a little, maybe a generation or two. I was reminded of this perspective when I was reading Isaiah 39 a few days ago. Due to Hezekiah’s pride by showing off Judah’s wealth to the Babylonians, the Lord said it will be all taken away, including the people, even his sons. I was taken aback by his response, “The word of the LORD you have spoken is good,” Hezekiah replied. For he thought, “There will be peace and security in my lifetime.” (v. 8) He seemed to care more about his own life than the future of his family or the nation. Sadly, this is an easy place to go, focusing on the here and now to the neglect of the future. And yet, the future always comes. Herein lies our tension. Surprisingly, though, we can flip this and neglect our responsibilities for today while securing our future. It probably shouldn’t be a surprise that God desires that we would keep both in mind. This is where I get the idea of “everyday eschatology.”
Eschatology is the study of the end. As with the beginning, so it is with the end; the best we can do is have an educated guess. Personally, I believe that it doesn’t matter how the last days unfold. That is up to God. My responsibility is to walk faithfully with Jesus. As his love shapes the story of our lives we will find ourselves living within his story for the world. Jesus loves our family and friends more than we do. He will lead us to care for them now and in the future.
The key to holding the tension of today and tomorrow (the end) is faithfulness. In Revelation 2 and 3 are letters from Jesus to the seven churches in what is today the country of Turkey. Each message is a commentary on that church’s faithfulness. And, each message ends with “If you can hear, listen to what the Spirit is saying…” (CEB) I believe that living in complete faithfulness with Jesus and in those relationships he has given us, we will be able to address our responsibilities today and in the days to come.
Grace and peace,
* Tension: Two seemingly opposing realities that need to be recognized in light of the other. (my definition)