Monday, November 14, 2016

"Keep Your 'I Love You's' Up to Date"

1st Pet 4.7-8 NIV

The end of all things is near. Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

Peter wrote to first century Christians in Asia Minor [1] to prepare them for the suffering they were likely to endure by the hand of the brutal and demented Nero during a time of political upheaval in Rome. Christians became scapegoats for all that was wrong with the empire. “The end of all things” associated with the return of Christ did not occur during Peter’s lifetime. The second coming of Jesus has yet to happen nearly 20 centuries later. While “near” may sound closer than 2,000 years, God’s perspective on time is radically different than ours:

“But don't forget this, dear friends, that a day or a thousand years
from now is like tomorrow to the Lord. He isn't really being slow about his
promised return, even though it sometimes seems that way.
2nd Peter 3.8-9 The Living Bible

Christ will return and “the end of all things is near” as God measures ‘nearness.’

“The end of all things is near,” however, my personal end may be even more near. I may only have a few decades of life on earth left. Perhaps only a few minutes. My days on earth are numbered. Like the timing of Christ’s return [2], the “day or hour” of my own demise remains a mystery to me. I only know that I will die [3] and that, in the light of eternity, “the end of all things [for me] is [very] near”. All human beings can state most assuredly with Jeremiah and the people of Israel during their time of captivity in Babylon:

“Our end was near, our days were numbered, for our end had come.”
Lamentations 4.18b New International Version

Perhaps the most important aspect of my life is the relationships I am privileged to enjoy. They mean everything to me. I could not survive without my family, friends, business contacts, fellow believers, neighbors, and local church. I need people, and now that my wife is in heaven, more than ever before. I need community. God designed it that way. I have made and received commitments from many of these people in the form of contracts for business, certificates of membership, and in the case of my dear, deceased wife, a license for marriage. Most of my relationships (even those few defined by written agreements) were, and continue to be, held together because of love, trust, and good will. I intend to do my part to keep it that way.

About 25 years ago Ken Blanchard wrote a popular book entitled The One-Minute Manager and coined the phrase “Keep your ‘I love you’s’ up to date.” I shall never forgot that. Life is too short not to keep your “I love you’s” up to date...

The end of all things is near. Therefore… love each other deeply”

Every relationship will someday end. I will not be married in heaven. In a few years we’ll all be gone and our children will run the planet. In a few years after that, they’ll be dead and the world will be under the management of people not yet conceived! No one will remember me then.

In the meantime, all that really matters is to love the people together with whom I am called to share this very short space of time on earth.


The black and white image of "I Love You" in sign language is from LatinaGirl9519 on PhotoBucket.

[1] Asia Minor includes the areas of modern day Greece, Albania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, and Turkey. These areas hosted many young churches started by Paul and other apostles and would become the likely target of Nero’s persecution expanding south and east from his headquarters in Rome during the latter half of the first century.

[2] Matthew 24.36; 25.13 and parallel passage in Mark 13.32.

[3] “…it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Heb 9:27 NKJV).


Anonymous said...

Wow, not sure I can add anything to this, other than to agree and to say that the only thing we will take with us into eternity is our relationships with our fellow beleivers. The older I get, (and I'm catching up to you, Dave) the more I realize this truth. One hundred years from now it will matter not at all what kind of car I drove, what kind of job I had, how much money I made, etc. By my math, I only have about 360 more months on this planet, and I'm not going to spend that time chasing things that will be utterly meaningless when those 360 months are gone.

One of the things I love about Sunset are the many friends I have made. After enough years have gone by I realize that most of my friends are at the church. I have been so blessed that I don't have time to keep up with them all. And yet, I now realize that I will have forever to enjoy them.

That more than anything is what makes me want to share the gospel all the more. Just last Thursday, I spent my first evening at the Union Gosple Mission and had the
opportunity to pray with 2 individuals (both homeless) who just seconds before had accepted Christ. They have nothing in terms of earthly wealth, no jobs, cars, money, or even the most humble homes to lay their hats. And yet I believe their confessions of faith were genuine.

How ironic. My current life and my life circumstances could not be further separated from these two new believers. And yet, because of one simple, humble act on their part, they are now my brother and sister and will live with me forever in paradise. (almost too hard to believe).

I feel more and more strongly that God is calling me to this ministry opportunity at Union Gospel Mission. I will be setting aside the first week of January to work at the mission full time and to learn the ins and outs of their operation and to learn how I, and eventually how many at Sunset can reach out to these people. I firmly believe we are being called to love these people deeply.

Dave, thanks for the blog. Or as sports talk show host Jim Rome would say:

"Thanks for the vine."


Dave's Bible Blog said...

Thanks brother Jim. Let's share our last 360 months (Lord willing) in victory serving Him.


William Merkel said...

I think passeges like these remind us of the fact that time is not on our side. We often think that we can make things right eventually and so we put off apologising or helping others because "I've got plaenty of time." God reminds us that nope we don't. Any second he could come back. When i was younger my mother used to ask if The Lord cmae back right now would you like him to be cathing you doing that. Though she said that when I was misbehaving the question is still valid...Do I want the Lord to be cathing me watching television or serving him?

Dave's Bible Blog said...

Thanks William for contributing to the blog. Good thoughts on being ready in case Jesus was to return today... which He could!!!