“The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.
God had given you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.”
I just glanced over this and I felt the … sense of urgency? Not under the whole “gloom and doom” of the end of the world or what not, but more like the nudging from Christ…
Life is too short to put to waste what God has given you! Life is too short to be self-centered, and too short to hold on to grudges.
I mean, think about this for a second. “The end of the world is coming soon…” Most people would assume that God would finish the phrase by saying something like, “so be sure you are not caught in sin – never ever! Because I’m watching and if you screw up you’ll be left behind!!” or others would think God would say, “pray and fast a lot, and spend all your time at church, and tell everyone you are a Christian just so you can depart with a clean conscience.” But instead (and refreshingly), His end-of-days, apocalyptic instructions are: “love each other deeply… share with each other… use the gifts God has given you with all your might.” I almost do a double-take (really?).
But that’s what so beautiful about God. He doesn’t tell you how to save yourself because He knows you can’t. He doesn’t really tell you how to prepare yourself because He knows that’s useless. And He doesn’t nag you with a list of “don’ts” for “holiness” because He loves you more than that. Not that there isn’t any merit in holiness, because there’s a whole book on that (and if Christians lived in holiness better, we’d be better witnesses to begin with… but that’s another sermon). But He selflessly wants us to live in such a way that we have no regrets!
Love each other deeply… share… and do what you were born to do. This gives me hope! It won’t be easy, but it’s definitely doable. If I sit there and imagine what my life would be like if I and all of my family in Christ lived like this, I know that Jesus would be lifted high. And I would be blessed. And I would be a blessing to others. Just picturing a family that loves each other deeply enough to cover the wrong-doings we inadvertently do to each other would blow my mind away and bring me to tears! God has been teaching me about sharing as I live, and I found that if I’m generous once, it’s easier for me to be generous again and again (which takes faith, because our instinct says, “HOARD!! It’s MINE! MINE! MINE!” but we have to trust in the God who meets all our needs).
I have to admit, I’ve fallen way behind in using all the gifts that God has given me. I just now adjusted my career to be where I know with all of my heart God created me to be. That took a cut in payroll by about half, a lot of hard work (and still at it!) and an immense amount of faith. But at church I’ve been operating at… 10% of what I’ve done or love to do or am good at. I haven’t preached in about 4 years for a Sunday morning service. I haven’t sung as much as I liked to, and I definitely have stopped acting and “dancing” since Oklahoma City. I haven’t directed plays, or worked with the children’s ministry to prepare programs for the church, or raised funds for missions, or done Bible quiz. Not that I have to do it all at once, but these are all things that I know I can do with the creative ideas and the strength God gives me. I just haven’t used some of these in years!Well, I’ll be praying more about where to start. I’ve been journaling a lot more to track my journey, so to speak. My prayer is to share this scripture with others and inspire YOU to start living under these “basic instructions before leaving earth”. Love each other. Share with others. Do what you were born to do. It may take a brain transplant for some, and a heart transplant for others, but oh the kind of people we would be if we did!