Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
The irony and the impact of this coming up in today’s reading is rather strong. Because of the Japanese government declaring a national State of Emergency last week, we decided in Sunday’s business meeting to not meet for the next two Sundays, and Nagasaki Rehabilitation College where I teach is likewise closed down until May 6th. On top of that, yesterday an article came in about what a high percentage of Pentecostal, Charismatic, and historically Black denomination pastors believe we are in the Last Days. Over half the pastors surveyed believe Christ will return during their natural life. I will confess to being in their number! That said, stopping all normal activity “because Jesus is coming soon” is hardly good stewardship of our time and resources. A temporary hiatus in church services could and should create a hunger to get together. I hope and pray that America will see a huge surge in church attendance after the restrictions there are lifted. Japan’s pause is slated, at least at this point, to be much shorter, but I pray for a similar response here. God allows these things for a purpose, and His purposes are always good. I feel the Church worldwide needs more of a sense of urgency as God’s timeline is progressing, and that has been sorely lacking in many if not most churches. We aren’t to be frantic, but neither are we to be passive, much less lazy. God wants to use us, and making ourselves useful to Him is always the path of greatest blessing.
This of course applies to me. I was still in my 20s when I first had the strong feeling that Christ would return before my physical death, and I’m now over 71! Meeting regularly for worship is such a strong habit in me that the decision on Sunday was rather gut-wrenching. We will be attempting online worship for the first time, and that actually has the potential to reach a lot of people we’ve never touched before. I wired this building with Ethernet 21 years ago, and now we have a good use for the connection behind the pulpit! There are many unknowns, but we do have a reliable Guide, and I need to trust Him every step of the way. I need to renew the excitement of looking forward to Christ’s return! That doesn’t mean I’m to overlook my immediate responsibilities in any way. Rather, it means that I need to let the hope that is in me be all the more brightly shining, to draw as many as possible to repentance and faith while they still have the opportunity.
Father, thank You for all that You are doing. Thank You for snapping me out of business-as-usual, getting my attention. I wasn’t aware of ignoring You, but my spiritual as well as physical ears can get dull. The spiritual are far more important than the physical! Help me get with Your program, actively doing what You intend whether I’ve ever done it before or not, so that indeed Your kingdom may come and Your will be done, on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!