I grew up in Michigan and was used to winters with cold temperatures, tons of snow, and challenging driving conditions. I have lots of fond memories of snowball fights, ice hockey outdoors on fireman built ponds, ten foot high drifts, and lots of snow shoveling.
Barbara and me (along with Sarah and Josh) moved to Boston in 1996 and lived there for fifteen years. One of my favorite times of year was winter, especially when a “Nor-easter” would hit the coast of New England. Basically, hurricane type conditions would pound the area and combined with artic arc coming down from Canada would dump lots of snow on metro Boston. Our first winter we enjoyed (at least speaking for myself) close to twelve feet of accumulated snow.
Residents would generally have plenty of warning. Weather forecasters often began to predict snowstorms 36 hours before they were scheduled to hit Southern New England. On cold winter days (sunny even), people swarmed into grocery and hardware stores to buy food, extra de-icer mix for their driveway and sidewalk, even an extra shovel. We knew how to prepare for the frequent storms. Tire stores worked overtime to meet the demand for winter treads. The city put all of the salt trucks and plows on overtime notice, pending the severity of the actual storm.
Everyone was talking about the impending storm. Even before the snow started, schools and businesses announced they would be closed for the day. When the storm hit with blowing snow, sleet, and freezing temperatures, most people were safe at home, not trying to get to work, school, or an entertainment function. We were warned, and most of us paid attention.
When we believe a warning, it affects our behavior. It is true in every area of life, including our walk of faith. But many do not pay attention to warnings and end up suffering the consequences.
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11.
Paul wrote to the Christians in Thessalonica, reminding them that the day of the Lord would come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night (v 2). His call to action urged them to avoid spiritual lethargy while remaining vigilant, alert, and self-controlled (v 6)…”Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.”
Paul’s challenge is similar to the one Jesus gave when He urged His followers to be watchful and ready, “For the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect” (Matthew 5:24).
If we believe our Lord’s words about His coming, how will it affect our thoughts and actions today? How will they affect our moral decisions, in light of today’s narcissistic culture? How will it affect our short and long term relationships,? How will it affect our tendency to avoid resolving conflict, taking responsibility, and keeping short accounts? How will it affect how we handle our financial resources? How will it affect our character development v.s. simply using our skills to achieve and accomplish personal and professional success?
If Jesus came back tomorrow and asked you for an account of your life, how are you prepared to answer Him? He is coming back, you know, so you better watch out and live in a readiness!
Think theologically. Every Christian should be an expectant UP-looker, not a sleepy onlooker.
Love is a verb,