Treasure Jesus

Actively Waiting for Christ's Return

Waiting for Christ's return is not a passive activity. We are not simply hanging out with nothing to do. Our waiting is not like pulling out a phone and playing meaningless games while waiting for our friends to show up for the movie. It is more like a limo driver, waiting for passengers to arrive. The hired driver isn't waiting aimlessly, because he has a job to do. They have been commissioned for a task and are actively waiting for their passengers.

When it comes to the topic of Christ's return, people spend a great deal of time concerned with predicting when Christ will return, when we should really be thinking more about how we wait. Like a hired driver, it is an active waiting. We are not simply hanging out on this large rock with nothing to do. We have been commissioned by our savior and he has given us a job to do. In teaching his disciples, Jesus seems less concerned with telling people when he will return and more about what sort of posture they should take in their waiting. It's less about when and more about how.

“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” (Mk 13:32-37).

No one knows the time or the hour. Not even the son. It would be unwise to claim knowledge about something Jesus says you cannot know - something he says he didn't know himself. Jesus says we should not spend so much time trying to figure out exactly when, but we should spend our time considering how.

He tells us to wait like a servant, waiting for their master to return. What does that mean? How does a servant wait? Here are a few ways that a servant waits, which can inform our own manner of waiting. 

Know your task

It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work (Mk 13:34)

When the master leaves, he puts his servants in charge, and gives them work to do. Servants are not hired without an awareness of what they are being asked to do. Jesus has given us clear commands about our work as his followers. It is helpful for me to think about my call as a disciple to grow in my love for Jesus in three primary ways.

First, to treasure Jesus. Loving Jesus means finding our joy in him above all else. This happens as we treasure Jesus in the gospel and pursue habits that raise our affections for him. Second, to live consistent. Loving Jesus means living with character that is consistent with our love for him. As followers of Jesus, we are called to a new set of behaviors in our lives. And third, to make disciples. Loving Jesus means we participate in the glorious task of making new disciples. This means we live with intentional mission to multiply our faith into others.

Be active not passive

When we, like a servant waiting for their master, know our task, we must be active and not passive. The parable of the master and servants points to an active waiting. While their master is away, servants do not simply gather each morning to give one another a pep talk, discussing how great their master is and how excited they are to complete their day's work. Then leave that morning meeting only to spend the rest of their day playing meaningless games, rocking a chair on the porch or continuing to talk with one another about the work they should be doing.

God has called us to be active in our waiting. Our gatherings on Sunday morning are meant to be a catalyst to send us out into the world. We are not intended to gather each week in order to feel good about ourselves but then see no meaningful result. God has given us work to do. We are called to treasure him and actively grow in our love for Jesus. We are called to live with character consistent to our commitment to Jesus. This means we fight sin, we serve others, we seek the good of our city, we care for our family, we treat people with respect, put on love and joy and peace and patience and the list could go on. It also means we are actively making new disciples through sharing the good news with those around us.

Waiting for Jesus means we are actively engaged in the work he has called us to do as his followers.

Be ready at all times

Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. (Mk 13:35-36)

We need to always be ready for Christ's return. We don't know when, but we need to be ready. Are you ready?

What does it mean to be ready? It doesn't mean you are perfect. It doesn't mean you have arrived. We have not obtained perfection, but we press on toward holiness (Phil 3:12). In order to be ready for Christ's return, we don't need to achieve perfection, we simply need to be growing as his disciples. Faithfully committed to him and actively engaged in his Kingdom.

We are not sitting on the porch step, doing nothing but staring down the road. Although, we may look to the horizon every once and again, looking with excitement to see if the master's silhouette can be seen in the setting sun. We are not compelled to work hard in our waiting because we feel a need to impress him. We labor in our waiting, because we are grateful for our master, and we look with hope at the horizon, because of the joy we have in anticipating his return.

Music Monday: God with Us

Music is beautiful. It stirs our hearts and alters our gaze. If we are intentional about the music we feed our souls, it can be a powerful conduit to increase our affections for our savior. Each Monday, I plan to share a new song which I find to serve this exact purpose - songs with beautiful melodies and rich lyrics, songs that stir our affections, songs that make our hearts sing, not just our mouths. My hope is that these songs do the same for you. My desire is that these songs strengthen your love for Jesus and increase your joy in him.

Lyrics for God with Us

The people had read of this rescue that was coming through the bloodline of Abraham
And they had seen where Micah proclaimed about a ruler to be born in Bethlehem
And Daniel prophecied about the restoration of Jerusalem
Isaiah’s cry about the Son of God coming to them
So for them—it was anticipation
This groaning was growing, generation after generation
Knowing He was holy, no matter what the situation
But they longed for Him
They yearned for Him
They waited for Him on the edge of their seat
On the edge of where excitement and containment meet
They waited
Like a child watches out the window for their father to return from work—they waited
Like a groom stares at the double doors at the back of the church—they waited

And in their waiting, they had hope
Hope that was fully pledged to a God they had not seen
To a God who had promised a King
A King who would reign over the enemy - Over Satan’s tyranny
They waited
And so it was centuries of expectations, with various combinations of differing schools of thought
Some people expecting a political king who would rise to the throne through the wars that he fought
While others expecting a priest who would restore peace through the penetration of the Pharisee’s façade
Yet a baby—100% human, 100% God
And so the Word became flesh and was here to dwell among us
In his fullness, grace upon grace, Jesus

You see, through Him and for Him, all things were created
And in Him all things are sustained
God had made Himself known for the glory of His name
And this child would one day rise as King
But it would not be by the sword or an insurgent regime
It would be by His life
A life that would revolutionize everything the world knew
He would endure temptation and persecution, all while staying true
Humbly healing the broken, the sick and hurting too
Ministering reconciliation, turning the old to new

A life that would be the very definition of what life really costs
Saying—if you desire life, then your current one must be lost
And He would portray that with His own life as His Father would pour out and exhaust
And He would be obedient to the point of death, even death upon a cross
And so just 33 years after the day that He laid swaddled in the hay
He hung on a tree suffocating, dying in our place
Absorbing wrath that is rightly ours, but we could never bear the weight
And so He took that punishment and he put it in the grave
And He died
And when I say that He died, what I mean is that He died
There's no breath, there's no heartbeat, there's no sign of life
You see, God is a God of justice, and the penalty for our sin equals death
That’s what Christ did on the cross

And then… Just three days later, in accordance with Scriptures, He was raised from the grave
And when I say that He was raised, what I mean is that He was raised
Lungs breathing, heart pumping, blood pulsing through His veins
The things that He promised were true
He is the risen Son of God, offering life to me and you
Turning our mourning into dancing
Our weeping into laughing
Our sadness into joy
By His mercy, we are called His own
By His grace, we will never be left alone
By His love, He is preparing our home
By His blood, we sing before His throne, that...

Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow

So now we, as His bride, are the ones waiting
Like the saints that came before us, we’re anticipating
He has shown us that this world is fading
And He has caused our desire to be for Him
And so church, stay ready
Keep your heart focused and your eyes steady
Worship Him freely, never forgetting
His great love for you

Immanuel, God with us

Get the song on Bandcamp: https://folkangel.bandcamp.com/track/god-with-us-feat-isaac-wimberley

Music Monday: All Glory Be to Christ

Music is beautiful. It stirs our hearts and alters our gaze. If we are intentional about the music we feed our souls, it can be a powerful conduit to increase our affections for our savior. Each Monday, I plan to share a new song which I find to serve this exact purpose - songs with beautiful melodies and rich lyrics, songs that stir our affections, songs that make our hearts sing, not just our mouths. My hope is that these songs do the same for you. My desire is that these songs strengthen your love for Jesus and increase your joy in him.

Music Monday - All Glory Be to Christ.png

Lyrics for All Glory Be to Christ

Should nothing of our efforts stand
No legacy survive
Unless the Lord does raise the house
In vain its builders striveTo you who boast tomorrow’s gain
Tell me what is your life
A mist that vanishes at dawn
All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing,
All glory be to Christ!

His will be done
His kingdom come
On earth as is above
Who is Himself our daily bread
Praise Him the Lord of love

Let living water satisfy
The thirsty without price
We’ll take a cup of kindness yet
All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing,
All glory be to Christ!

When on the day the great I Am
The faithful and the true
The Lamb who was for sinners slain
Is making all things new.

Behold our God shall live with us
And be our steadfast light
And we shall ere his people be
All glory be to Christ!

All glory be to Christ our king!
All glory be to Christ!
His rule and reign will ever sing,
All glory be to Christ!

credits

from Joy Has Dawned, released 27 November 2012
Words by Dustin Kensrue, arrangement by Kings Kaleidoscope / © Dead Bird Theology (ASCAP), It’s All About Jesus Music (ASCAP)

Music Monday: Who Would Have Dreamed?

Music is beautiful. It stirs our hearts and alters our gaze. If we are intentional about the music we feed our souls, it can be a powerful conduit to increase our affections for our savior. Each Monday, I plan to share a new song which I find to serve this exact purpose - songs with beautiful melodies and rich lyrics, songs that stir our affections, songs that make our hearts sing, not just our mouths. My hope is that these songs do the same for you. My desire is that these songs strengthen your love for Jesus and increase your joy in him.

Lyrics for Who Would Have Dreamed?

VERSE 1
On a starlit hillside, shepherds watched their sheep
Slowly, David’s city drifted off to sleep
But to this little town of no great renown
The Lord had a promise to keep 

VERSE 2
Prophets had foretold it, a mighty King would come
Long awaited Ruler, God’s Anointed One
But the Sovereign of all looked helpless and small
As God gave the world His own Son 

CHORUS
And who would have dreamed or ever foreseen
That we could hold God in our hands?
The Giver of Life is born in the night
Revealing God’s glorious plan
To save the world 

VERSE 3
Wondrous gift of heaven: the Father sends the Son
Planned from time eternal, moved by holy love
He will carry our curse and death
He’ll reverse So we can be daughters and sons 

[source: https://sovereigngracemusic.bandcamp.com/track/who-would-have-dreamed]