Let’s be perfectly clear.

Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

The imminent return of Jesus Christ is a common theme from the three major writers of the New Testament. Two thousand years have passed since those men wrote about the conviction they felt about Christ’s return. So were they wrong? Did they get it wrong? Was this feeling, this conviction from the Holy Spirit who coauthored their work, in fact, mistaken? Either God makes mistakes, the Bible isn’t inspired, or disciples of Jesus Christ need to approach this idea with the relevance it demands. It’s actually not a difficult explanation, though the practice is what separates sheep from goats. It’s pretty simple. Jesus actually answered it.

Matthew 24:38-51

“For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left.  Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left.  Therefore, stay awake, (pay attention, stay focused, don’t give up, give it your all, take this seriously, persevere) for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.  But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.  Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.  Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?  Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.  Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.  But if that wicked servant says to himself, 'My master is delayed,'  and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

In plain English, Jesus is saying that you are a hypocrite unless you believe, act, and invest as though His return is imminent. Without the adopted mindset and reality of the imminent return of Jesus Christ, Christians will continue to approach Jesus’ command to take the good news to the ends of the world like little boys who drag their heals, rebel against biblical authority, get distracted, and lack discipline. They do not invest eternally because they act and believe as the wicked servant who says, “well, it’s been two thousand years, it won’t happen today. I got time. I don’t need to take responsibility yet.”

The true disciple of Jesus Christ is the one who won’t be caught with his pants down when the Master returns home.

Ephesians 5:15-17

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

Making the best use of the time. Other versions call it redeeming the time you have left, since the days are evil. Redeeming time acknowledges that you have wasted time, perhaps a more accurate statement. It means being intentional about what time you have left. Since you don’t know how long you have to walk this earth and will eventually answer to the tribunal of Christ about your investments, how are you investing your time and talents? How are you inserting the truth of the Gospel into the lives around you? Or are you a hypocrite described by Jesus in Matthew 24, coasting along with Jesus on your Facebook feed but nowhere in your life?

The words of Jesus Christ leave no room for ambiguity.