Spotlight 1/2021: Shaping the present

Our motto for 2021 deals with our future, but this future has to be shaped now, in the present, and this is a task that falls upon all of us, says District Apostle Jürg Zbinden of Switzerland.

Our annual motto for this year is a promise. It will be fulfilled for all those who are prepared to use every opportunity in the present or, in other words, to redeem it: “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5: 15–16). This is what Apostle Paul writes to the church in Ephesus. He asks the members of the church to be wise and understand what God’s will is. This valuable exhortation by Apostle Paul is still valid, also for us.

We feel more and more that the time we live in is evil. There is a manifest disregard of the law and that means that the love of many people will grow cold (cf. Matthew 24: 12). By the way, Jesus did not say that the love will grow cold in all, but in many, thereby making clear that it is possible to be manifest in the love for God and one’s neighbour in spite of all the difficulties, and that right to the end: “But he who endures to the end shall be saved” (Matthew 24: 13).

Shaping the present

A believing person once said: “Whoever is certain of the future can shape the present.” Our future is not something we dreamed up; it is based on Christ’s promise that He will come again and take His own home to the marriage supper of the Lamb. Afterwards He will establish the kingdom of peace, in which all those who followed Him faithfully to the end will be able to serve at His side as the royal priesthood.

We must shape the present in such a way that the promise in our motto can be fulfilled. How is that possible? If we decide for the Lord every day anew, if we always model our own lives on the example of Christ, and do what the writer of the letter to the Hebrews recommends: “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12: 1–2). Whoever is prepared to take up the battle of faith will experience the help of the Lord: “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28: 20).

Trust in God

Let us trust in God’s help in the coming year too. We don’t know how the situation will develop in the world, but we will trust in the promise of Jesus: “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14: 3). This is our future, and it fills us with great joy and confidence, as the prophet Isaiah already declared: “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God” (Isaiah 61: 10).

Photo: NAK Schweiz

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Jürg Zbinden
District Apostle, motto