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by David Thompson
The passage starts off with these words, "The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray." The verse tells us to be alert, not obsessed. This reminds me of life in the 60s and 70s. It was a time of unrest and of spiritual awakening for many. However, this awakening was sometimes taken to the extreme. One man told me that when he graduated from high school, he so believed that Christ was coming back, that instead of going on to college, he applied to work in a factory instead. I met this man when he had been working in that factory for twenty years and in looking back, he regretted his choice. The same happened to my brother. He was saved in his mid-twenties and he was sure that God wanted him to go to seminary and become a minister. A veteran minister counseled him to stay home as Jesus was coming back soon. The minister told him to be a light here and now and not to waste time going off to school. Many did this and know now that Jesus didn't mean He was coming back in the next day, month or year. Hal Lindsay's book "The Late Great Planet Earth" came out about the same time and only added to the end times belief of many.
So what did Jesus mean? He meant that we are to stay alert, be ready, but not make rash decisions, but to pray. He goes on in verse 8 telling us to love one another as this covers a multitude of sins. This means reaching out to other people, even if they have wronged us and love them. In doing so, those being loved will be brought closer to Christ.
The passage finishes in verses 9-11 telling us three important things. First, we are to offer hospitality to all and to do it without grumbling. Second, when we speak, do so as one who speaks the Words of God. Finally, when we serve do so with the strength of Christ. As people watch us, serving with a great attitude and fortitude, it will bring praise to God.
As we wait for Christ's return, we want to be alert, not obsessed. We want to show the world what it looks like to be a Christian. In doing this, God may be praised through Jesus Christ.
Dear God, we praise you for all you have done and are doing for us. Help us to stay ever alert and ever in prayer. Also help us to show hospitality to others and to speak your Word with the authority given by you. Finally, teach us our God given strengths and assist us in using these strengths to glorify you. Amen