There's a bit of light here on that vexed question of the Lord's second coming, about which good, earnest people differ so radically. The Master said, you remember, that we were to be watching for His return. But many ask, how can we be watching when it's been two thousand years since He told us to watch, and the event seems as far off as ever?
I remember one day in a Bible class the lesson was in the twelfth of Luke, about watching for the Lord's return. Some of the class seemed to think that it means that we should be in a constant attitude of expectancy, looking for His return. But one man, an earnest, godly old minister said, |How can you be looking expectantly for a thousand years?|
But will you mark keenly that the teaching of Jesus Himself was that His return depended on His followers' doing a certain thing? When all men had been told fully of Jesus, then He was to return and carry out a further part of His plan. Clearly if the part we were to play has not been done, it delays His part. The telling of all men about Jesus seems to bear a very close connection with what will occur when Jesus returns.
Some of our good friends have been much taken up with figuring out when the Lord would come back. Some of them seem to have great skill in making calendars. They even go so far as to fix exact dates. They seem to forget that word of the Master, |In such an hour as ye think not the Son of Man cometh.| If you think He will come at a certain given time, then you can know one thing certainly, that He won't come then.
The only calendar we men have is a calendar of dates, fitted to the movements of the sun and moon. God has a calendar, too, but it is a calendar of events, not of dates. The completion of His plans doesn't depend on so many revolutions of the earth about the sun, but on the faithful revolution of His followers in their movement around the earth telling men of Jesus.
It looks very much as though the Master's coming has been delayed, and His plans delayed, because we have not done the preparatory part assigned us.
|The restless millions wait the light,
Whose coming maketh all things new.
Christ also waits; but men are slow and late. Have we done what we could? Have I? Have you ?|
A little fellow, of a very poor family, in the slum section of one of our large cities, was induced to attend a mission Sunday-school. By and by, as a result of the teacher's faithful work, he became a Christian. He seemed quite bright and settled in his new Christian faith and life.
Some one, surely in a thoughtless mood, tried to test or shake his simple faith in God by a question. He was asked, |If God loves you, why doesn't He take better care of you? Why doesn't He tell some one to send you warm shoes and some coal and better food?|
The little fellow thought a moment, and then with big tears starting in his eyes, said, |I guess He does tell somebody, but somebody forgets.|
Without knowing it, the boy touched the sore point in the Church's history. I wonder if it is the sore point with you or me.