Does it seem that work, school, or the household routines enslave you to a here and now focus of life? When was the last time that you spent intentional time meditating on the return of Christ, heaven, or some aspect of God’s eternal kingdom?

The New Testament epistle of 1 Thessalonians offers a corrective to this enslaving here and now life focus by ending each chapter with some reference to Christ’s return.

For example, chapter 1:10-11 ends with Paul rejoicing in how the Gospel transformed the entire life existence of the Thessalonians. Once the Thessalonians received the Word of Truth and turned to God from idols, their perspective on life changed. According to verse 10, they became a serving and waiting people. Their new lives involved serving the living and true God and waiting for the eternal Son of God from heaven. Notice that the here and now focus of serving cannot be divorced from the not yet focus on the returning eternal Son of God, Jesus Christ.

According to verse 11 they were waiting for Jesus, Who is described as eternal in connection with His heavenly abode, as the triumphant One in connection with His resurrection, and as the merciful One who will deliver us from the coming wrath of God. Let 1 Thessalonians 1:11 take you beyond the here and now for a moment to that glorious time in the “not yet” to see that the children of God will not experience the outpouring of God’s righteous wrath. This wonderful certainty enables each of us to serve and to wait.

How do you stay focused in the busyness of life? The gospel liberates us and frees us to serve and to wait on the triumphant and merciful work of the eternal God accomplished for us in the past, present, and future.