When Jesus approached Jerusalem, and His time on earth was drawing to a close, He began to teach His twelve disciples about how they should live, waiting for His return. There are a couple of expressions that pop up several times in what He said: ‘waiting’ and ‘watching’. Basically they mean the same thing, but the first word is more passive, while the second one, ‘watching’, definitely is an active thing. You can`t close your eyes and be watching! You can`t focus your attention on the piece of ground just in front of you, and at the same time profess to be watching for the signs of the times.
What does Jesus mean when He exhorts us to be watchful? ‘When these things begin to take place, stand up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near’ (Luke 21:28). Who sees better, the person who sits with a lowered head, or the one standing erect, with his head lifted high? The latter of course.
At times the Church has taken the position of withdrawing from the world to the extent that it has lost touch with society, stressing a passive posture of waiting for the Lord, rather than the active watching. Certainly, if we lower our heads we’re spared a lot of unpleasant sights: See very little of the moral depravity of many, see very little of the violence overtaking cities and countries, see very little of the growing persecution of Christians. But are we better off not knowing?
God doesn´t want His children to be ignorant, not even if they look pious in their ignorance. He warns us not to be like the people in the days of Noah, who were taken unawares by the flood. They hadn’t been watching what Noah was working on for 120 years! Why? Because they focussed on other things, weren’t interested. And so they knew nothing.
The world may not be interested in what we Christians are saying and doing, but we should be interested in what the world is doing. When Jesus talked about the signs of His coming, He mainly talked about things happening in the world, not inside the Church. So we’d better find a position where we can see what’s happening in the world, then we may gain an understanding of what the Lord’s about to do, and be prepared and ready!
While doing this, and gaining spiritual understanding and insight, another thing will also happen. Christians, released from the confines of passive waiting, will become the light of the world and the salt of the earth (not by doing something, or by starting some new project, but by simply being there). A Christian standing erect, with lifted head, will see better, and he’ll be seen by many. I have a strong feeling this is the natural posture for us. We’ll gain understanding about the times, and our light will be seen without a lot of effort to spread it!
May the Lord give you courage to lift your head high today. You’ll gain more understanding of what the Lord’s about to do, and the world around you will watch you, and see a ray of hope in a dark world! So you have everything to win, and nothing to lose!
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