Monday, October 5, 2009

Ready or Not? (1 Thess 4:1-18)

The H1N1 pandemic, like SARS a few years earlier, is a reminder to us of our own mortality. That day the Lord calls us before him is a day we all anticipate, although we also know it comes on us stealthily and suddenly. Nevertheless, it is a day we can prepare for. In reading 1 Thess 4:1-18, we are reminded that as we live on earth, there are dangers to avoid and duties to take on. If we follow faithfully our Lord’s guidance, we can be sure that we will not be caught ashamed when the Day of the Lord is upon us.

Live a Balanced Life (vv3-8) – Avoid spending inordinate time and effort on things we do for pleasure. How much time do we spend on our hobbies or on eating even? Measure that against time we spend on reading God’s Word. That should give us some idea of how important our spiritual life is to us. We should also avoid being obsessed by our work life. God has given each of us creativity. Unfortunately, when it is tarred by sin, we tend towards workaholism. This subjects us to burnout and neurological disorders leading to a barren life, despite our material abundance.

Be involved in things that matter (vv9-12) – While we are to avoid the excess of working for our keep until we burnout, it does not mean we avoid ministering in God’s name. I believe God expects us to be involved and has called us to be his partners in making him known through ministry and mission. How involved are we? Are we using our gift(s) to his glory in ministry?

This life is not the only one we have (vv13-18) – We should live keeping our eyes on eternity. Many people, Christians included, live as though only the earthly life matters. Our journey through this life should be lived in the light of the Gospel. Each day is a day that God calls us to the obedient life that reflects his glory and truth. Sometimes, this obedient life will cause the world to think disparagingly of us and even ridicule us. This is something Jesus received and told us that we will too. But he also reminded us that God’s favour is on us when we live our lives to please God, regardless of the world’s attitude towards us.

So as we ponder about balancing the work life and recreational life with the spiritual life, or even our temporal work life against our ministry life, we can see that we need wisdom, above all, to bring things into balance. We all need this wisdom, even pastors, and it can only come from above. To attain this, we need an uncompromising attitude of prayerfulness. This consists of continuous and continual prayer. How much time and how many times do we spend on daily prayer? Excluding our prayer before meals, our prayer in church and with our CG friends, how much time do we devote to prayer daily and weekly?

Regular prayer is victorious prayer. I read this somewhere “unless we know how to bend our knees before God, we will never stand upright before Him on the Coming Day.” Seeking to live a God-pleasing life without seeking God’s will can be futile and fruitless. The only way to overcome the flesh, the world and the Devil is by drawing on heavenly resources. These heavenly resources are ours through reading and reflecting on God’s Word and through prayer.

May the Lord’s praise be with us when he comes to take us home!

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