Matthew 24:36 – 44
I was working as a bookkeeper in a construction firm. It was the 1980’s and our city was in the midst of a massive construction downturn. As the work in the field decreased, my payroll tasks took less and less time. Whiling away the afternoon in a very quiet office, all I could think of was all the housework I could be doing if I was at home. Gradually the work I needed to do continued to decline and my thoughts began to wander to applying for other jobs.
One day I was called into the office manager’s office. I was being temporarily laid off and they hoped to be able to call me back soon. Mixed feelings accompanied my exit from the office and the job. Now I could finally follow some of the dreams that had occupied my thoughts over these past weeks. Where would I begin. Heading home that last day I was confident that I could put together a successful plan and my new future would unfold quickly. I found myself at a new beginning and I was excited.
The very next day I believed I would start on this new journey. I sat at my computer staring at the screen. Waiting. Waiting to figure out where to start. Waiting, and as it turned out, overwhelmed with all that lay ahead. Application after application yielded nothing. Most of the time my applications weren’t even acknowledged by prospective employers. In the silence I began applying for fewer and fewer opportunities and I began losing hope. Paralyzed with futility I became a passive observer of my own life.
The author of Matthew composed his Gospel about 80 years after Jesus had died. The people he been waiting for Jesus to return. They expected to see him riding on descending clouds any day. It may be that as the time dragged on and Jesus had not returned, that the people became disillusioned by Jesus’s seemingly unfulfilled promise. Very likely they began to lose hope. I suspect that as their expectations were met with silence, the people began to return to old patterns of behavior. Waiting for Jesus’s return became a passive observance. Matthew’s author, wanted to refocus the attention of the people. How could he or she help the people to find hope? What might move the people out of their state of passive waiting?
- Have you ever found yourself in a place where hope seems to be lost?
- What kinds of things do you notice when you’re in that place?
- How did you experience God in the midst of that hopelessness?
- What might you do this week to be more attentive to the presence of God?