2000 years ago the preoccupation of the disciples seemed to be the establishment of the physical, visible Kingdom of God. Christ’s crucifixion temporarily dashed the hopes that He was indeed the triumphant Messiah they thought the prophets had spoken about (rather than the suffering servant). After His resurrection, the disciples still hoped these expectations would be fulfilled.
Jesus explicitly admonished them to not worry about times or dates of God’s plans. Instead they (we) will be given power to be His witnesses to the “ends of the Earth.” Their focus is to be our focus: Preaching the Gospel and being His witnesses.
After 9/11, Time magazine’s Nancy Gibbs posed the question, “Why do Christians spend so much time trying to read the signs and break the code – trying to know what can’t be known rather than do what must be done – helping the poor and needy and preaching the Gospel?”
When we ignore Christ’s call to make our focus the advancing of the Gospel, we lose our way and ultimately our ability to reason soundly: literally, we lose our wits. We may not go as far as trying to set a specific date for Christ’s return or some impending cataclysm, but we establish priorities that aren’t the ones of heaven. In America, the Gospel is indistinguishable from other calls to success and happiness. True conversion accompanied by repentance as well as faith is getting harder and harder to find.
Pastors are now Life Coaches and Success Therapists rather than preachers of the Gospel. When leaders diminish the Gospel, it’s only a matter of time until the followers do the same. We have lost our way, and our wits as well.
Today, many will rightly denounce the lunacy of those that foolishly tried to predict those things that can’t be known. Yet, when anyone digresses from the priority of being witnesses for the sake of the Gospel, they start down the same wrong road.