Faith United Methodist Church
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Keith's Korner February 19, 2011
“Til He Comes”
John 14:1-3 & I Corinthians 11:23-26
Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself, so that where I am, there you may be also…For I received from the Lord what I also handed on to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when He was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, “This is My body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of Me.” In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My Blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.
History’s full of dates that have come and passed that were “discerned” as to when Christ will return. It’s as if folks actually believe they can outsmart God when He said that NO ONE – ABSOLUTLEY NO ONE – will know “the times or (even) the seasons set by the Father”.
Why do they do this? What makes them so eager or desperate that they ignore what God has clearly said and try to set dates as if that will make it happen?
For some it’s a response of faith – longing to be fully united with their Savior, Lord, coming King and eternal Friend.
For others it’s a copout – a desperate longing to get out of what they see as hopeless misery with not hope or victory in sight.
So what? No harm, no foul, right?
Knowing about the Second Coming is great. We need to know things won’t just go on indefinitely. Folks need to know there will be a reckoning. Folks need to know there is life and victory ahead for the believing faithful. Like Matthew Henry said, “Prophecy is given to guide our consciences, not to satisfy our curiosity.”
That being said, Christ is coming again.
So, what do we do in the meantime?
Live as if He coming TODAY and plan as if He isn’t.
Beagles are lovable, but stupid.
They’re great at hunting, but easily distracted and they tend to take off chasing the wrong things…like deer and getting separated and lost & vulnerable to coyotes, bobcats, starving, getting hit by cars, shot or stolen.
This happened to us a few times before I gave in and got some electric collars to save them from themselves. I really didn’t want to shock them and wanted to be sure it would get their attention without injuring them so I tried it out on myself and a friend who had no idea what it was first.
The idea is to get their attention and correct them, not to punish or flip them over in pain. They are my friends and hunting buddies, not tools to be used and abused.
Isn’t that what God sometimes does with us when we insist on it?
He knows exactly what it will take to save us from ourselves and does it, because we matter, our eternity matters, our growth and influence matters. YOU MATTER.
Now and for years now I have to be careful handling the collars – if they hear the bells they start barking and howling to go hunting. And when it’s time to go hunting all I have to do is let them out and they’ll bark and run around the yard and then come over and stick their heads through the collars to go hunting…and I hardly ever have to use them. I have a leash, but it’s like new. I don’t need it. They stay with me and listen…MOST of the time.
Isn’t it that way with us too? We’ve had to learn that God’s ways are best, we need to have Him get our attention at times and we learn to walk with Him in partnership.
But there were the times before the collars when they would run off. One time one was gone for a week and I just about gave up hope she would be found or returned. Was she dead? Did a coyote get her? Did she get caught in some trap or snare and die? Was she hit by a car or stolen?
Then we got the call. She’d been found by an honest person and I picked her up and brought her home.
One other time they ran off after some deer and we couldn’t find them and they didn’t call when we called.
I remembered what another old-timer had told me. When the dogs run off they EVENTUALLY try to get back to where they started. The problem is that there’s no way to know when that will be and they may not stick around if you aren’t there.
What you do is leave a piece of yourself behind – a coat or shirt with your scent on it. You leave it where you had parked anchored under a rock or tied to a post and hope they will make it back and wait for you to come get them.
I’d never tried that before, but I gave it a try. I left my coat and then kept driving back to see if they’d come back. Every couple of hours I’d drive by until well after dark and it was time for bed. Then I got up early the next morning to go check again… and there they were huddled in a bitterly cold open field just yards away from the shelter of a shed – out in the open, cold and shivering with a herd of deer 30 or 40 yards away waiting for me to pick them up, take them home, warm them up and feed them.
They’d worn themselves out chasing the wrong thing, had finally given up on the temptation right there in the field with them and were ready to come home.
Instinctively they knew I’d be back for them and I was.
Isn’t that what God does with us when we decide to bolt or let ourselves get distract-ed and wander off on our own and have to learn the hard way?
He calls, He disciplines, He respects our freedom to choose and then He’s there for us when we decide to respond and come back…and He leaves a bit of Himself for us to lay hold of and respond.
And when times are tough and the going so very hard He gives us a bit of Himself to hang on to and remind us that He’s with us and will see to it that nothing comes be-tween us and Him and that, when the time is right, He’ll be there to accomplish His perfect will and purpose in us and through us and beyond us.
I left a coat. Jesus Christ leaves an empty cross, an empty tomb, the Script-ures, His Spirit and Communion – Our Lord’s Supper to remind us that He’s committed to us, He’s with us and He’ll be there and come through at just the right time and that we are always welcome back to be loved, cared for and restored when we’re ready to come back – when WE’RE ready to come back again and again and again.
Where are you today?
Off chasing deer? Wandering lost, alone and in danger? Returning, wondering if He’ll let you back? Faithfully struggling through some hard times, wondering if you’ll make it and if God is anywhere around or if He even cares?
Where ever you are – whatever your situation – you ARE NOT alone, abandoned or forsaken. He’s there – He’s HERE. He’s left a bit of Himself for you to return to, to hold on to.
It’s not a coat – it’s the bread and juice we share together when we receive Communion and celebrate Our Lord’s Supper. The bread represents Christ’s Body, given for you – broken in your place to bear and defeat the consequences of your sin and my sin. The juice represents the blood of Christ – the life force, the power, the victory Christ won in our place in His sinless life, death and resurrection and made available to you by His Holy Spirit when we choose to receive Him as Savior, Lord, coming King and eternal Friend.
It’s here because He’s here – He’s ALWAYS here for you.
All you have to do is return and He’ll be there.
All you have to do is hang on – He’s coming.