Regarding the Times

“He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap” (Ecclesiastes 11:4)

The apostle Paul wrote concerning the return of the Lord on several occasions and his second letter to the church in Thessalonica parallels this statement in Ecclesiastes. In view of the imminent return of the Lord Jesus Christ to establish His earthly kingdom some of the Christians in Thessalonica had ceased to work (2 Thessalonians 3:11) and become idle in waiting for the great day of the Lord.

Being imminent does not mean it is immediate. We still live in the “last days” in which the Lord’s return is imminent but we have no biblical reason to assume that this means immediate.

The farmer knows the seasons and must do his work in faith accordingly. The first rains may be imminent but he will not know the exact time they will come or cease.

At the time of sowing he must sow even if there is a threat of wind that might blow the seed away and at the time of harvest he must harvest even if there is the threat of rain. If he procrastinates because of what might happen he will neither sow nor reap and he and his family will go hungry.

The analogy of a farmer sowing and reaping is used a number of times in the Bible. We live in a day when the wickedness of the world and the pervading spirit of antichrist suggest that the Lord’s return may be soon but that is no reason or excuse to cease sowing in faith. And if we sow in faith it must be with the expectancy of reaping. Both require activity on our part.

Some of the Christians in Thessalonica had given up working to await the return of the Lord. They refused to sow the Word of God and they had no expectation of reaping souls for the Kingdom of God. If we regard the times in which we live we may be inclined to follow their example but that would be contrary to the will of Jesus expressed in the Bible.

Yes, the return of the Lord may be today but equally it may not be for some years. He has not told us when. We know we are in the “last days” (2 Timothy 3:1-5; 2 Peter 3:3-4; Hebrews 1:1-4; 1 John 2:18) but the Lord has not revealed the exact day when He will call out His church.

If we regard the conditions around us we will be like the farmer who always waits for perfect weather and will not sow or reap. Paul commanded Timothy to proclaim Jesus Christ regardless of circumstances; “in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2) and that command extends to all Christians. Paul affirms all the preceding in one verse, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart” (Galatians 6:9; cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:13).

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