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       The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace. 1 Pet. 4:7-10

Dear Jesus, may Peter’s words sink and settle deep into my heart today. If I really believed “the end of all things is at hand”—if really believed your return could happen within my lifetime—if I really believed you are coming back to make all things new, of course it should make a significant impact on how I live and love, the rest of my days in this world.

Whenever we attend a funeral, we always go away with a sense of our mortality and the fragility of life, at least for a few days. We hug loved ones a little tighter and linger a little longer in conversations. But then it’s “back to normal,” and our usual patterns in relationships return.

Rather than covering sins, we get irritated with one another’s sins. Rather than welcoming one another without grumbling, we guard our own space with complaining. Rather than using the things you give us to serve each other, we look for ways to satisfy ourselves. Rather than administering your “varied grace” to one another; too easily, we withhold it from each other. Yet, “the end of all things is near.” Lord, have mercy on me, the sinner.

Jesus, I don’t want to love with a view to another funeral but with a view of your second coming—actually, with a view of everything you are, and everything you’ve already accomplished. I don’t want to love to get anything from people, but because everything I really need I have in you.

You’re the one Peter was thinking about when he wrote these words. Indeed, you’re the one who loves us deeply. You haven’t just covered a “multitude of our sins,” you died and atoned for ALL of our sins. You always offer us hospitality without grumbling. You serve us gladly and endlessly—giving us grace upon grace upon grace.

Jesus, whether you return in the next fifteen minutes or wait fifteen hundred years, may you live in us and love through us, with minim resistance on our part. So very Amen we pray, in your loving and wonder-full name.

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Scotty Smith

Scotty Smith is the founding pastor of Christ Community Church in Franklin, Tennessee. You can follow him on Twitter.

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