Luke 12:54-56 He also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A shower is coming.’ And so it happens. And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and it happens. You hypocrites! You know how to interpret the appearance of earth and sky, but why do you not know how to interpret the present time? (ESV)
Although this conversation between Jesus and the crowd occurred thousands of years ago, it is still so relevant to today. The talk of their predicting the weather back then reminds me of our society’s current concern for global climate change and whether our irresponsible use of the earth’s resources can sustain life for future generations. While these issues certainly shouldn’t be ignored, I can’t help but think Jesus would call our Western culture “hypocrites” today just as he did that crowd. People are so passionate about the physical threats to the environment, and yet ignore the secularism and depravity that are threatening the very souls of humanity. Our society is working hard to ensure the earth continues to provide for us, but has turned a blind eye to the Creator of this earth who may return at any time to judge us all.
Where should our priorities lie? The Bible is clear and does not speak lightly of this matter. It’s not that we aren’t to be informed or stay involved in current issues, but as Christians, we come at them from a very different perspective. We must pay attention to the present times but with the constant awareness that the coming of the King of Kings is imminent. Luke 12 is one of many passages in the New Testament that uses alarming language to warn us of what will happen if we become lax and forget our time and place.
Luke 12:35-37a, 45-46 “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. But suppose that servant says in his heart, ‘My master will be a long time in coming,’ and he begins to beat the menservants and maidservants, and to eat and drink and get drunk. The master of that servant will come on a day he does not anticipate and at an hour he does not expect. Then He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers.” (ESV)
Be aware. Be alert. Be awake. Be sober. Be watchful. Be attentive. Be ready for action. This warning message is all found all through Scripture. When we are passive, asleep to the times and not thinking eternal or of Jesus’ return, we drift and become like the world around us (Hebrew 2:1). We forget our purpose, live to fulfill our own passions and await a fearful encounter with our God. Instead, we should take up our spiritual armor in order to stand against all that constantly tries to grab our attention and leads us away from God’s calling for our lives (I Thessalonians 5:6). This calling looks differently for everyone. You may be crunching numbers, educating children, nursing the wounded, advocating for sustainability, feeding the hungry, fighting slavery…all needed roles! But don’t forget we are all working towards a one ultimate purpose – to display the glory and love of God to the world and prepare them for His reign. May we never put this as second place in our priorities, lest in moments of trial and temptation we are found asleep on the job and miss out on the feast that awaits.