Scripture Reading: Matthew 24:1-51, Matthew 25:1-46, Daniel 7:13-14
Rather than organizing our lives into a zillion little categories like family and finances, work and leisure, God’s Word invites us to adopt a new filing system. Everything ultimately fits into one of only two categories: former things, which are destined to pass away, and forever things, which never will. There is no third option.
In language that feels equal parts inspiring and terrifying, Jesus reminds us to consider forever things here in Matthew 24 and 25. While the gravitational pull of our hearts is to spend our time thinking about the days on our calendar, Christ reminds us that a Day is coming soon that will forever sever our ties to the temporary.
“Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with aloud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one of heaven to the other” (Matthew 24:30-31).
When Christ returns a second time, the former things will be no more, and only forever things will remain. It’s a promise so spectacular our hearts can’t seem to absorb it. Jesus knows our tendency is to drop our eyes toward our navels rather than straining them heavenward, waiting for His return. In a parable designed to teach us how to wait well, He compares the Church to ten virgins waiting for their bridegroom. Five came prepared to wait as long as necessary. Five were foolish and did not (Matthew 25:1-12).
Just like Jesus’ disciples who slept instead of standing guard with Him in the garden the night before He died, we are the sleepy virgins, prone to to become weary and distracted as we wait. But our Groom is coming. He’s already on His way. There’s still time to shift our focus away from bills and brokenness and toward our coming King. And while we do not know either the day or the hour, we do know that He’s called us to be alert and ready, waiting for Him with expectant hope of His return (v. 13).
In Revelation 21 we’re given a glimpse of what life will be like after Jesus rides in on the clouds. Jesus says, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God” (v. 3). Christ is coming back to save the Bride whose ransom He’s already paid. Our long separation from Him will finally come to an end. What then?
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (v. 4, emphasis mine). Death, mourning, crying, pain—these will all become former things. As Christ teaches about His return, we find that it’s not that temporal things don’t matter, but a time is coming when they won’t. Jesus is coming back for us. On the timeline of eternity, it won’t be long now. May He find us waiting well.
Erin Davis is an author, blogger, and speaker who loves to see women of all ages run to the deep well of God’s Word. When she’s not writing, you can find Erin chasing chickens and children on her small farm in the Midwest.