This past Sunday, Grandview Christian Assembly preached a sermon on living life – our marriage or singleness, our mourning or rejoicing, or jobs or our relaxation – in light of the return and coming reign of Christ (1 Cor. 7:25-35). When we shift our eyes from the events and situations of life that can so easily consume us and occupy the forefront of our priorities, and like Paul, focus on the Lord Jesus Christ and His return we are able to find true passion and meaning for life. Relationships and rejoicing become a foreshadowing of the coming glory. Mourning and anxiety become a part of living in a fallen, sinful world, instead of an overbearing burden upon our souls. The longing expectation redirects our paths and decisions away from the short term and unto the long term priorities of the kingdom of God.
Olympic athlete, Eric Liddell, portrayed in the film Chariots of Fire, departed for China in 1925 and would eventually die in a Chinese internment camp in 1945. His last reported words were, “It’s complete surrender,” as he willingly laid down his life for the spreading of the good news of Jesus Christ. His last words to the crowd wishing him well at Waverley Station in Scotland were, “Christ for the world, for the world needs Christ!” followed by leading the people in the singing of “Jesus Shall Reign Where’er the Sun” (Name Above All Names, pp 98-99).
Liddell’s life and death are a portrayal of a man living not for the now but with a view unto the Lord’s return. The hymn sung at his departure, by Isaac Watts, depicts his hope and the hope of all those who yearn and live unto the coming again of Christ:
Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run;
His kingdom stretch from shore to shore,
Till moons shall wax and wane no more.
To Him shall endless prayers be made,
And praises throng to crown His head;
His Name like sweet perfume shall rise
With every morning sacrifice…
Blessings about where’er He reigns;
The prisoner leaps to lose his chains;
The weary find eternal rest,
And all the sons of want are blessed.
Where He displays His healing power,
Death and the curse are known n more;
In Him the tribes of Adam boast
More blessings than their father lost…