Ever since I first became a Christian at the age of 9 and gave my heart to Jesus, I have been told over and over again that Jesus is coming back soon.
I watched those terrible films, you know the ones: “Thief in the Night”, “Left Behind”, and “The Late, Great Planet Earth”.
I read the books, including “88 Reasons Why Christ Will Return in 1988” and the sequel, “89 Reasons Why Christ Will Return in 1989”, which incidentally was exactly what it sounds like – the same book as the previous one but one one extra (wrong) reason.
I remember as a young boy waking up in the middle of the night, terrified that Jesus had returned and left me alone in my house. I would get up and sneak over to my parent’s room and place my ear on the door to see if I could hear them breathing and I could not return to bed again until I knew for certain that Jesus had not abandoned me.
I have also been involved in countless conversations around the dinner table with family and friends who would, after a long list of everything that is wrong in this world, wag their heads and say, “Jesus, come soon” or “Come take us home, Lord!”
Maybe you can relate? Maybe you have also heard the mantra yourself repeated ad naseum “Jesus Is Coming Back Soon!” or “It could be today!”
As of now I am officially finished waiting for Jesus to come back.
Does that mean I don’t believe in the Second Coming of Christ? No, it doesn’t. But what it does mean is simply this: I am not waiting for Jesus to come back and fix things.
What I have to come realize is that Jesus doesn’t want us to wait for Him to return. He wants us to get busy being the light of the world and the salt of the earth. He wants us to be His ambassadors of His Kingdom in our community. He wants us to “be Christ” to people around us who have never seen Him, or heard His voice. He wants us to be His hands and His feet to show compassion to people who don’t deserve it, but so desperately need it anyway – just like us.
We need to stop looking up at the sky for a great rescue to take us out of this world. Instead, we need to bow our heads and pray that Jesus would come and live and breathe in us right now. We need to abide in Him – and Him in us – so that we can bear good fruit for His Kingdom.
And if Jesus does return tomorrow, may He find us doing exactly what He told us to do: Loving and serving others as He has loved us.
The Body of Christ needs to wake up, come to life, and shine the light of Christ to a dark and hurting world that is so desperate for hope and genuine love and compassion.
Christ is coming. Christ has come. He is alive in every one of us who have surrendered ourselves to Him.
If you keep sitting there waiting for Christ to return, you might get left behind.
Keith Giles is the author of several books including “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb” and “The Power of Weakness”. He is also the co-founder of Pacifist Fight Club and co-host of the Heretic Happy Hour podcast.