(Why) Not Now?
At an early age, I realized our family was frugal — not by choice, but by necessity. We had food, clothing and plenty of love. But there was little money for anything beyond the basics.
So excitement prevailed in the spring of 1962 in the form of a large envelope in the mail from a generous relative. In it were tickets for our family to attend the World's Fair in Seattle, Wash. A colorful brochure displaying wonders of the event played upon my vivid imagination until it was all I could think about. What would it be like to ride the Monorail or survey the world from atop the new Space Needle?
Yet, while I waited for the great trip to begin, my anxiety grew. Our pastor had been preaching about prophecy, the end of the world and the Second Coming. I didn't want that — not with tickets for the World's Fair sitting on my parents' dresser.
And so I prayed. I begged God to wait a couple of months. "Please don't let Jesus come until after we go to the World's Fair," I pleaded. Night after night I sent my petitions heavenward. And Jesus didn't come.
Nearly a half century later, I recall those misguided prayers with a wry smile, yet realize my 8-year-old rationale was not so different than that of many today. It's echoed in the recent lyrics from country music artist, Kenny Chesney: "Everybody wants to go to heaven ... have a mansion high above the clouds. Everybody wants to go to heaven ... but nobody wants to go now."
We all want what's best, just not now. We all want to give a Bible study, help our neighbors, eat right, get more exercise and watch less TV ... just not now.
The tickets to a great feast have arrived in the mail. R.S.V.P. excuses are pouring in to the heavenly post office: "I have just bought some property ... I just got new car ... I just got married," (See Luke 14:18–20.) The great apocalyptic vision that once stirred Adventist juices has been put aside for later consideration.
As Jesus tells the story, the master finally tells his servants to go find people anywhere to come to the feast so his house will be full. And then the sobering proclamation: "I tell you, none of those whom I invited first will eat with me," (Luke 14:24).
So Jesus hasn't come. Is it us who wait ... or Him?
"Everybody wants to go to heaven ... have a mansion high above the clouds. Everybody wants to go to heaven ... but nobody wants to go now."