You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.
That discredits the marketing of a lot of Christian literature doesn’t it? The fact of the matter is, when peoples’ alarm bells are ringing, it is much easier to sell to them.
But Jesus tells us not to be alarmed. War? Don’t be alarmed. Rumors of war? Don’t be alarmed. Famines? Don’t be alarmed. Earthquakes? Don’t be alarmed. Persecution? Don’t be alarmed. Betrayal? Don’t be alarmed. Apathy in the church? Don’t be alarmed. False messiahs? Don’t be alarmed.
In short, chill.
In my favorite book on leadership, Edwin Freidmann describes the leadership as entirely dependent upon whether you can reduce the anxiety in a group or not. Nothing else is so significant and Jesus knows this too.
In Colossians chapter four we are commanded to remain alert (or literally awake) in prayer. So remaining calm does not mean falling asleep at the wheel. Many of Jesus’ parables encourage us to be prepared for His return. But we have a complementary command here to keep us from going off the rails. Be alert, but don’t lose your cool either.
Covid is just a thing that happened. High temperatures and raging forest fires are just a thing that is happening. The upcoming stock market crash is just a thing that is going to happen. It’s okay. We don’t ignore these things, we do what we can to mitigate their harm and help others. But we are not alarmed.
So don’t let current events shake you out of your holy groove. Keep the faith, fight the good fight, finish the race. I like how Paul puts it to the church at Thessalonica:
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
1 Thess. 5:16-18
Lord, may your peace be upon us as we cry out “Come Lord Jesus!”