With today being Leap Year Day, some interesting ponderings have been circulating among my younger sons. “So what happens if you were born on Leap Year Day?” “Do you only have a birthday once every four years?” “Can a person be all grown up and still be only five years old?” “Does he only get presents once every four years?”
I personally believe that the intrigue of the last question especially horrifies my children. Receiving birthday presents only once every four years must seem an unbearable torment indeed.
But one thing that I find myself doing in a Leap Year is the musing of what the next four years will hold. What will the next Leap Year find when it returns again in 2012? I’m not sure. I know that since the last Leap Year a beautiful daughter has been born to us, we’ve moved to a new home, and we’ve seen our Lord do amazing and wonderful things! And although I’m not sure what EXACTLY God has up His sleeve for me, my family, and my church, I know that He has more amazing and wonderful things in store.
One celestial event that probably doesn’t serve as a chronological marker for many (because of the length of time involved) is the passing of a comet close to earth. Halley’s Comet, for example, swings into the inner part of the solar system once every 76 years (having last done so in 1986). While it will be a long time before Halley’s Comet comes by again (2061 in fact), it has left us presents in its wake in the form of particles that burned off from it as it was heated up by the sun. We pass through a trail of these particles in the beginning of May and then again in the middle of October and can enjoy them as they enter Earth’s atmosphere, providing us a show of “shooting stars” (or meteor shower).
But just think of how much our world had changed in the 76 years prior to Halley’s Comet’s last visit! And think of how much things might change again before it returns! While I am not likely to see it again in my lifetime, I am confident that much will have happened before it once again comes our way, and my children and grandchildren may be pondering the same question!
More importantly, however, is the question of the state of things when Jesus returns for His people. If He were to return today, how would He describe the changes that have taken place? What is the state of His people in comparison to their condition when the Church had just been born in those days immediately following His death and resurrection?
We might be tempted to concentrate on how big the Church has grown since that day. Or we might focus on the technological changes and advancements that have taken place. Or we might instead think of just how hip and “culturally relevant” the contemporary Church has become.
But perhaps the most important consideration that we should entertain is what Jesus Himself asked to get our minds focused on what He Himself considers truly important.
“…When the Son of Man (a reference to Himself as the Messiah) comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8b NIV). Given the context of the Scriptures surrounding it, it seems clear to me that the Lord Jesus is referring to a living and viable faith being “fleshed out” (or applied) in everyday living. The question He poses seems to beg our consideration today. One day (and perhaps very soon) Jesus will return for His people. While I don’t think that we can suggest that He doesn’t already know what state in which He’ll find us (so to speak), the question is like an arrow shooting into our spiritual lives, penetrating with His truth our busy schedules, preoccupations with our own ambitions and desires, and complacency with which we cocoon ourselves.
If He were to return today, would He find faith? Would He find us digesting His Word? Would He find us being changed by it? Would He find His Word in us transforming our lives, our homes, our communities, and our world? Faith is that in us which generates obedience from us to His Word, the Bible.
If we do not learn His Word, then there cannot be the response of faith that is due Him. And if we do not obey His Word (whatever we have learned of it), then there is no response of genuine faith. Faith and an emotional sense of security and hopefulness are two different things. Although the latter can be the fruit of the former, it can also be generated from other sources.
But what WILL He find when He returns? What will He find in me? What will He find in His Church? And what will He find in you? If you’re not sure, take this moment and begin a process of self-examination. Are you learning the Bible? Are you participating in opportunities with other Christian Believers to study and apply its truths? Are you living what God’s Spirit is showing you through His Word? The Bible teaches us Who God is, what His purposes are, and how we are to respond to them.
Perhaps you’ve not even yet truly begun the journey. Maybe you’ve not yet personally received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of your life. If this is the case, simply allow God to forgive you of your sin, confess that He died for you on the cross, and then begin to walk with Him in the company of other Christians.
Neither you nor I can answer the question of what Jesus may find on earth when He returns, but if you give your heart to Him and become His forgiven child, you can definitely answer the question of what He’ll find in you when you’re called to give an account to Him of your life.
“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down by dissipation, drunkenness, and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap. For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth. Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:34-36 NIV).
I really liked the tie-in of the leap year and Halley's Comet to looking forward to Christ's coming. This piece definitely made me think.
My opinion, but some of your introductory stuff seemed a bit extraneous for your point. It seemed to take a bit longer than I personally would like to get to the "meat" of this.
You definitely kept me engaged, especially once you got to the "theology" part. Very nicely done!