This may be a little late this morning. After I had it all written, I was given an additional shock of not being able to get into Mail Chimp from my laptop. I had to retype it all into my iPad!
In 1970, the year Alvin Toffler’s book, “Future Shock,” came out, I was still in high school. His book talks abut the ever-increasing pace of change, and how difficult it is for people when there is too much change in too short a period of time. Is anyone out there feeling future shock these days? I know I am to some degree – and I claim to like change!
I remember when I started out in ministry (long before I was ordained), my office was in the church basement. Behind my desk was a ditto machine. To my left was an IBM Selectric typewriter – I felt cool because I had a second golf ball typing element with a script font! Now I am doing radio interviews on my cell phone where-ever I happen to be. And I do not think I would know how to function without my laptop or iPad!
Times change – and as they do, we are presented options. If we view the change as dangerous, our reactions generally will bear to flee, fight or freeze. If, on the other hand, we see potential in its hands, our reaction will be much different.
I am happy to report that I am seeing our present days filled with potential (even though, I must admit, I am a little scared by it). I am being forced out of my box (actually – rut), compelled to ask new questions. I have actually started listening to podcasts … and looking at some things from totally different angles. I am feeling like a kid in a candy shop (some of the time). This is a great time to be a Christian – and exciting time to be in ministry.
To his young protege Timothy, St. Paul wrote, “Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching … do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (2 Timothy 4.2-4) I, for one, am not sure when it is out of season to share the Gospel. I have the feeling that, rather than talking about what is going on in the world, Paul is talking about what is happening in one’s head.
As I crawled out of bed this morning, I was groggy and totally unmotivated … it certainly did not feel like the “season” to do my morning roadwork and meditation. Fortunately, I remembered reading the above passage the evening before. Exercise … meditation … sharing the Gospel … all are “in season and out of season” things. Now, an hour later, I am ready for the day … which, if it goes according to plan (and not as it is starting), will be filled with reaching out to people with encouraging words of Jesus.
Personally, I do not expect our immediate future to be as shocking as some seem to fear. I am, though, being pushed into doing some things I never would have thought of … and I do not think I am done learning yet (at least I hope not). However, as I hope you know, the real shock in the future will be ”when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him … Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on his left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you you are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’ … Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’” (Matthew 25.31-41) My prayer is that this day will be less shocking for many because of what God’s people keep doing ”in season and out”