Keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, which God will bring about in his own time. (1 Tim. 6:14–15)

DURING A SMALL-GROUP DISCUSSION about eschatology (that is, the doctrine of what will happen during the last days before Christ’s return), the leader made an interesting observation. “Regardless of what you believe about ‘what will happen when,’ one thing is for sure: when Christ returns, everyone’s bank account goes to zero—all we will have to offer Him when we appear before Him is ourselves.” At first, that was a bit unsettling for those who had worked hard for many decades to build up a suitable “nest egg.” But they eventually realized that it all belonged to Jesus anyway.

Paul’s admonitions to Timothy, a young pastor and his son in the faith, all centered on the impending return of Christ. Righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness—all of these traits were to be his, and increasing, as he prepared his flock for the second coming. He was to resist temptation and fight the good fight, while always being ready and awake should the Lord return.

Christians have always been encouraged to maintain a state of readiness for Jesus’ return, while not neglecting their kingdom assignments. While it’s true that some believers can become so focused on heavenly matters that they’re no “earthly good,” the biblical expectation is that we live quiet and responsible lives, while always looking to heaven and wondering if today will be the day.

Write down your thoughts on what you want to be doing when Jesus returns.

Doug Schmidt is a freelance writer and editor and is on staff with his church as a small-groups coach.