December 30, 2013
... you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. 1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10
Last month, an old friend came for a visit.
Knowing he had driven a considerable distance, I asked, "How was your trip?"
He replied, "There was a lot of police on the road."
Without any explanation, I knew what he meant. So do you. He hadn't been able to drive at the over-the-speed limit he wanted.
Not so long ago, I heard of some drivers who were on an interstate in Pennsylvania. They were proceeding at a pretty good pace until a highway patrol car joined them. That meant speeds were reduced, and people had to behave. A line of drivers kept glancing in their rearview mirror, waiting for that moment when the officer would exit the line of cars.
After a few miles of watching the comedy, the state policeman activated his bullhorn and called out to the drivers ahead of him: "I'm not a Pennsylvania state policeman. I'm from Connecticut! You can speed up now!"
We are an impatient people.
When you go to a department store, you scan the registers to see which line is shortest. You check out the stuff in the other customers' carts to see who will take longer to ring out. At the bank's drive-up teller windows, you go where the line is shortest. At the fast-food place you get upset if the persons in the cars ahead of you put in a big order. College students get freaky as they wait to sign up for needed classes or to buy books. When we vote, we don't want to be slowed down by too lengthy ballots. And, of course, if you don't believe anything else I've said, ask your child's teacher what the day is like when Christmas vacation, which, in some places is called "winter break" rolls around. Ask them whether they can get anything done during the last week of school.
We are an impatient people. This is why it is so very hard for us to listen to Jesus when He tells us to watch for His return.
We shouldn't be surprised. The Old Testament people had a difficult time waiting for Jesus' first coming. A prophet would come and help them remember, but that remembering lasted only for a while. In our time people forget Jesus promised to return for the purpose of judging the world. They act as if that day will never come and if it does come, Jesus is going to be pretty lenient in His verdict.
Well, that's not going to be the case.
Jesus is going to judge, and He is going to be looking for faith in the hearts of His people. He entered this world and, from moment one, gave Himself for the express purpose of saving us from the consequences of sin. It cost Him dearly, and He wants us to remember ... to remember and respond in the things we do and that which we say.
It's only right and proper we remember our Savior and the Judge who will be pretty impatient with those who have forgotten His sacrifice.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, You never forgot the purpose for which You were born into this world. May we be appreciative of Your sacrifice and wait patiently for the unknown hour of Your return. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries