24 Jesus left the temple and was walking away when his disciples came up to him to call his attention to its buildings. 2 “Do you see all these things?” he asked. “Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.” 3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. “Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” 4 Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many. 6 You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 7 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of birth pains.
As I read this passage it strikes me how differently Jesus and the disciples are seeing the world. The disciples are looking at the temple and its buildings, the (impressive!) work of human hands. Yet Jesus is looking ahead, predicting that not one stone will be left on another and the whole building will be destroyed. Jesus is acutely aware that a time will come when the world will end.
What am I focused on? Am I fixated on the ‘temple buildings’, the temporary structures that serve a purpose now, but won’t last forever? Or am I living with an awareness that only God, people and relationships, faith, hope and love will remain? Am I investing in the treasure of heaven – giving my life to loving God and loving people?
God, where I have become so distracted and consumed with often good but temporary things, please help me to choose you first. Help me to enjoy the budding tomato plants in my garden, the adventure of a good movie, the satisfaction of a completed to-do list…. but to above all be alert to your presence, committed to doing your will, and attentive to your children and the lost sheep around me. Help me live with a fierce sense of purpose. Amen.
Written by Bethany Waugh