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A couple of days ago a friend was telling me about a revival that is taking place on his college campus. The thing that the student leaders focus on is being ready for the Second Coming. So they focus on a set of sins to avoid. But is that where our focus should be? How should we live while we’re waiting for Jesus to return?
To find an answer, we’ll look at Luke 19. The chapter begins with the famous story of Zacchaeus. In verses 8-10, Jesus commends Zacchaeus and tells him that he is saved. Notice the very next verse: “As they [those at Zacchaeus’ house] were listening to this, he went on to tell a parable, because he was near Jerusalem, and because they supposed that the kingdom of God was to appear immediately” (NRSV [New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]). Notice that Jesus told the following parable to teach something to those who were expecting Jesus to set up his kingdom right away. That means that the lessons Jesus is teaching apply to those of us today who are looking for the Second Coming.
The parable Jesus told is very similar to the more-familiar parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30). But there are a few differences. Here’s the parable of the minas (a mina was worth about three months’ wages) (or pounds in some versions):
12 A nobleman went to a distant country to get royal power for himself and then return. 13 He summoned ten of his slaves, and gave them ten pounds, and said to them, “Do business with these until I come back.” (NRSV; emphasis mine)
The servants who were commended were those who did business with the minas—each of them received cities as a reward.
Here’s how this story applies to those of us who are waiting for Jesus’ Second Coming: We need to live our lives as we should otherwise. “Do business . . . until I come back.” The fact that Jesus is coming soon doesn’t affect how we need to live, other than to give it more urgency. We need to surrender our lives daily to God and allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. When we do this, we won’t have to worry about whether Jesus is coming tomorrow or 500 years from now. Let’s focus on the do’s, and not on the dont’s.