"Be patient, then brothers, until the Lord's coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop and how patient he is for the autumn and spring rains. You too, be patient and stand firm because the Lord's coming is near."
I used to work with a guy who would routinely arrive at work 15 minutes late. He did as little as he could get away with and what little he did he didn't do particularly well. When we would talk about work he seemed bored but when discussion turned to his plans for his days off he became more animated. He would spend his shift dodging supervisors, playing games on the computer, trying to look busy, and making plans for the weekend. He was all weekend, no workday, and a horrible coworker.
As Christians we have a lot to be excited about. I have to confess, with a little shame, that until about a year ago I was too in love with this world to truly look forward to Christ's return, but today I find myself continuously longing for it with a fervor and an anticipation that I have never felt previously in my walk with Christ. Sure, there were moments, hours and even days before when I yearned for Christ's return, but today it is a continuous state. I live and walk in it. I want the clouds to part and to see Christ in all His glory. I want to see every knee bow. I want to walk through the untrammeled perfection of a new Earth. I want to sing God's praises in the new Jerusalem. I want to see the place that Christ has prepared for me, and to live in unbroken relationship with God, man, creation and time. My mind is not capable of perceiving how wonderful it will be, but my spirit directs my heart towards it as surely as a compass needle must point north. This is the weekend I am looking forward to...
...but today is not the weekend (O' that Christ would prove me wrong!).
There is work to do, and I catch myself at times possessing a similar attitude towards Christ's return, and the wedding that will follow, as my coworker held for the weekend. It tempts me to resent and neglect the present. For those who have passed from death to life we are already living in eternity. Not only have I been forgiven my sins, but I have been given Christ's reward. I am a new creation today and always. These are the last days when we can choose to deny ourselves. These are the last days when we can say "no" to sin and truly offer up ourselves as a living sacrifice- forgoing things we desire for something of much greater worth.
Just like the farmer in James 5 we have a day to look forward to, but the watchwords for today are "wait," "be patient," and "stand firm." Don't be a horrible coworker. Delight in today, and in the labor of your hands. Enjoy the challenges and pleasures that God has set before you. Give God what he wants to take and take from God what he wants to give. Watch a football game, get together with friends, go for a walk with your kids, and continue steadfastly in the work of the Lord and the study of His word. These days matter.