“And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. It will be just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.” (Luke 17:26-30 NASB)
I have heard over and over that the days before the Final Return of Jesus will be accompanied by more sinfulness in the world. The reference is always to this passage where Jesus says that the days will be like the days of Noah and Lot. But such a claim ignores the explanation Jesus gives.
In each reference, to the days of Noah and the days of Lot, the further explanation is to things indicating that life would continue on. In the days of Noah they were eating, drinking, and there was marriage. The very idea of marriage expects a future. They had none. In the days of Lot they were conducting business, planting, and building: Progress! This also looked for a future, but there was none. That’s the point.
In each case the cataclysm was a surprise. In our case, when Jesus returns, He will be a surprise. This element of His return is repeated often in the Scriptures, yet when we get to these two references we still go to the sinfulness of those days. I suppose we love to wag the finger, pointing to all the sin, and telling everyone they’re going to burn! I think we need a new hobby.
Perhaps instead of wagging fingers, we can be binding wounds? In other depictions of readiness, we are told to be busy about the work given to us rather than slacking off. So let’s get busy. Not busy to appear busy (I do that really well), but focused on the task at hand.
When Jesus comes, He should interrupt the work He gave us to do. It’s okay, He can do that, He’s the Master, we’re the slaves. When He shows up is when the whistle blows signalling the end of the work day (or in this case the trumpet signalling the end of the world).
But until that happens we are supposed to be working together at the tasks He has given us. There’s no time to wag the finger, for infighting, for holding resentment, for being bitter, to be distracted by this perishing world’s stuff. We have people who need a life-line, need a care-giver, need to know someone cares selflessly. It helps them look toward Jesus. It’s not about us, and we’re certainly not the only way He works. But He does work through us, or wants to.
What’s distracting you? Or will the work of Jesus through you be interrupted by His return?