Acts 2:17-21 “In the last days,” God says, “I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions and your old men will dream dreams… And I will cause wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below… But everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[Peter, quoting Joel 2:28-32]
I often hear people say they think we’re entering the “last days,” when eschatological promises will be fulfilled. My husband Dave sometimes looks up at the clouds and says, “Jesus could come back today!”
Yes, he could. Interestingly, Peter himself, two thousand years ago, thought his generation might be the last on Earth as we know it. And that theme has echoed down through the centuries, especially in times of crisis. For my novel, Horse Thief 1898, I’ve read a lot about the 19th century. People were so passionate then in their belief that the world would end any day that entire communities sprang up around that theme, especially in northeastern U.S. along the Erie Canal. Some preachers named the date they thought Jesus would return.
“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen. Only the Father knows,” Jesus told his followers in Matthew 24, after he too quoted the prophet Joel. “If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward.” Jesus then told the parable of the three servants entrusted with their master’s goods while he went on a trip. On his return, he honored the two who invested and multiplied what the master had asked them to steward.
But the third servant, consumed by fear and insecurity, had simply buried the master’s money. He hadn’t lost or squandered it, but he hadn’t creatively multiplied it either. The master calls him “wicked and lazy.”
Yikes! This story speaks directly to me today. I love to write, but I find letting people know about what I’ve written very, very hard—so challenging that I’m often tempted to give up, to “bury” this passion which I believe the Lord entrusted to me. “The market is so crowded,” I tell myself. “My voice doesn’t really matter. I’ll do something easier; something with more obvious and immediate impact.”
But that’s not the point, is it. The question is whether I will be faithful to what God has given to me, investing as well as I can in those who do hear my voice. I haven’t heard God telling me to become a bestseller. I have heard him say, “Write what I put in your heart.”
When Jesus returns, will he find you and me actively and creatively engaged in the work he has entrusted to us, in our small corners of the world, energized by the Spirit he pours out on us? Might someone call on the Lord and be saved (the verb sozo means the action of delivering or rescuing another from a dangerous situation, either physical or spiritual) if we trust him enough to do our part? If you think of it, please pray for me to lean into the Spirit, because I don’t find this work easy. And I’ll be delighted to pray for you, too, if you communicate with me specific needs you have in seeking to be faithful to the gifts God has given you, as we both await the return of our Lord.