The end of all things is near; therefore, be serious and disciplined for prayer. Above all, maintain an intense love for each other. (I Peter 4:7-8 HCSB)
Peter didn’t mince his words when he said that the end of all things is near. None of us knows exactly when the end will be, but since the time he wrote these words – about AD 62 to 64 – I'd bet that each generation of believers has felt that their time was the end. Given the earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, and illness we’ve experienced in the past few years alone, it’s hard not to think that, even if we aren’t at the end of things, we’re pretty close.
What’s so comforting about this passage, though, is that Peter doesn’t leave us to our own fearful imaginations for dealing with the end. He balances the somber with a service – we are not to lie down and suck our thumbs. We’re to admit to the brevity of life and be seriously disciplined to pray – for acknowledging the greatness of God, for drawing from Him our strength and our hope, for having a steadfast willingness to do whatever we can to make a difference, and, by His grace, to love one another until that day. Peter doesn’t say to first go on vacation and live it up while we can; he doesn’t say to first pull our investments so we don’t lose them in a crashing market; he doesn’t say to first stock up our pantries to overflowing; he doesn’t say to first isolate ourselves from one another. He says, above all, maintain an intense love. So, in the end, what matters most is that we love.
What does this mean for you today? What family member needs to know of your love? What neighbor would be blessed by our help? What nonprofit could use another set of hands and feet for reaching and aiding in the community? What intense love do you have to share?
Today, or this season in life, might be the end of something – for you, for a neighbor, for all of humanity. May we all look and see where our love, and God’s love, is a very present help above all things.
Lord, show me one day at a time how You want me to share Your love with my family, my community, my country, and Your world. Help me to keep love first and foremost so Your goodness and Your glory shine through to the end. By the power of Your grace, Amen.