Who then is the faithful and wise servant? {Day 15 of 40 Days of Lent}

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

(Matthew 24:36-51 ESV)

1840s
William Miller preaches the end of the world, predicting Jesus would return and the earth would be set ablaze sometime in the year between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. It’s estimated that 100,000 followers sold all they had and fled to the mountains to await the end – the end that didn’t come. Miller changed the date, but still had it wrong.

At the same time, Scottish medical missionary David Livingstone went to Africa, where he explored the continent and opened the way for the gospel to be proclaimed.

1963
Pentecostal pastor William Branham claims he met seven angels who revealed the meaning behind Revelation’s seven seals. He predicted Jesus would return to earth in 1977.

Martin Luther King Jr., co-pastor of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and leader of the civil rights movement, delivered his “I Have A Dream” speech during the march on Washington, D.C.

1988
Hal Lindsey’s best selling book, The Late Great Planet Earth, predicts the end of the world for Dec. 31, 1988.

Mother Teresa has been serving the poorest of the poor in Calcutta for 38 years despite having suffered a heart attack years earlier. In the late 1980s, she took advantage of increased openness in Eastern Europe to expand her mission efforts.

1994
Harold Camping predicted Christ would return in September, claiming he was 99.9 percent certain of his calculations based on numbers and dates found in the Bible.

Campus Crusade for Christ‘s leader, Bill Bright, fasts for 40 days, and issues a call for prayer and fasting for revival in America. More than 600 Christian leaders meet in Orlando, FL, for the first Prayer and Fasting Conference.

1995
Camping tries again with a March 31 date.

This year, like every other year for decades, youth leaders everywhere went to sporting events and concerts, ate way too much pizza, talked to hurting teens, played messy games that caught the (negative attention) of the church council, traveled too many miles in a van packed with middle schoolers and patiently explained to parents that information on the youth group events had been sent home several time so parents weren’t being informed at the last minute. Oh, and while they’re doing this? They’re praying over these kids and teaching them about God and Jesus and what it means to follow him.

2011
Camping tries twice. First, he claimed the world would end on May 21. When that didn’t happen, he opted for a date in October.

Within 24 hours of an earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan, World Vision and a number of other Christian relief organizations were mobilizing efforts to assist those affected by the devastation.

The question …
In each of these years, which person or set of people were doing what Jesus told his disciples to do in Matthew 24?

***

These (hopefully) daily devotions for Lent have turned into daily devotions for March, which is technically not Lent but is the month leading up to Easter. They are based on the 40 Days of Lent reading plan available at YouVersion. The plan was graciously provided to YouVersion by Journey Church.

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