1 PETER 4:7 - The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober spirit for the purpose of prayer.
This past summer, two blockbuster movies depicted the end of civilization, and the drama that goes with living life “in crisis mode.” Every sense is heightened. Relationships are more precious, and more challenging. Every decision is a major one. Peter wrote to his audience that they, too, should be on the alert, living as if Jesus’ return were immanent. Several years ago, I got a sense of this kind of “crisis mode” focus. Our youngest son Cliff had been away to a North Carolina summer camp for several weeks, so Jo Beth and I decided to fly up for his final week, then fly back home with him. When camp was over, the three of us boarded an airplane in Asheville, North Carolina for a short flight to Atlanta. As we were getting settled in our seats, the flight attendant began to give the standard emergency instructions that no one seems to listen to anymore. Shortly after takeoff, Jo Beth turned to me and said, “I smell smoke.” We looked around and thick, white smoke seemed to be coming from the back of the plane. In a minute or two, it got even thicker. The flight attendant stood again and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we are having some difficulty of an unknown nature, so I want to review the emergency information you received at takeoff. She had a rapt audience, including yours truly. I was concerned that Jo Beth and Cliff might not be paying attention, but I need not have been. They were as focused as I was. They turned the plane around, landed again in Asheville, and all was well. But for those last few minutes of the flight, that attendant had my undivided, complete attention. We need to learn to live as if tomorrow might be the last day of our lives. In fact, we need to learn to live as if the next hour would be our last. Can you imagine the sharp focus our lives would take if we believed that at any moment the curtain of history could be drawn and the Son of God would return?