In a heavily divided society our churches sometimes argue about what exactly the church is called to do. I often dread these discussions as a pastor. I’m a people-pleaser and I desire to be a peacemaker. Conflict sends my blood pressure into orbit and I lose way too much sleep.
The writer of Ecclesiastes eloquently tells us there is a time for everything. It would be great if everyone agreed on what time this is for the Body of Christ. Is this the time we mourn, or is this the moment we dance? Do we make war or do we make peace? Do we cry or do we laugh? Do we tear down or do we build up?
Not everyone agrees with my take on what time it is.
As an optimist, I may choose to laugh and dance and build up. Others see the same things I do and say that it is time to cry and mourn and tear down.
How can we be disciples together when we can’t even agree on what time it is?
But Jesus, when faced with the difficult path he would need to walk, wasn’t so hesitant.
“I was made for this,” was essentially Jesus’ reply.
While the disciples were debating about what it meant for Jesus to be the messiah, Jesus had his mind clearly set on the goal. If his vision ended at Golgotha, the tomb, or any part of this world, his reaction to their scheming might have been very different.
In many ways, the disciples’ vision ended with their own lives. They could only see their personal salvation, the uplifting of Israel, or the downfall of Rome. They couldn’t see past their agendas and desires to see the fully-revealed reign of God in the person and life of Jesus Christ.
If we really want to see what time it is for the church, we need to look beyond the limitations, the arguments, the divisions, and the barriers of this world. We must look beyond our own lives. We must look to the full promise manifested in Jesus Christ — the promise of the salvation of the world.
It reaches beyond us, beyond our time, beyond the issues we face, and it touches the generations that have already been and all the generations that ever will be. The heavenly Kingdom is so much bigger than anything we have ever known and anything we can comprehend.
So what time is it?
It’s time to look beyond ourselves and to see Jesus fully revealed in our lives, in our world, and in all that exists.
Where might we be short-sighted in our vision of the Kingdom of God? What issues trouble our hearts and minds? What might our lives look like if we looked beyond the issues of our time and into the timelessness of God’s rule?