11. What mistake may some persons have made as to their Christian course?
11 It may be that some who have been serving God have planned their lives according to a mistaken view of just what was to happen on a certain date or in a certain year. They may have, for this reason, put off or neglected things that they otherwise would have cared for. But they have missed the point of the Bible’s warnings concerning the end of this system of things, thinking that Bible chronology reveals the specific date.
12, 13. What did Jesus not mean by his words at Luke 21:34-36?
12 What do Jesus’ own words show concerning the proper attitude as to the end—to look for a date, or what? He said: “Pay attention to yourselves that your hearts never become weighed down with overeating and heavy drinking and anxieties of life, and suddenly that day be instantly upon you
13 Did Jesus mean that we should adjust our financial and secular affairs so that our resources would just carry us to a certain date that we might think marks the end? If our house is suffering serious deterioration, should we let it go, on the assumption that we would need it only a few months longer? Or, if someone in the family possibly needs special medical care, should we say, ‘Well, we’ll put it off because the time is so near for this system of things to go’? This is not the kind of thinking that Jesus advised.
14. (a) When Jesus and the apostles spoke concerning the time of the end, what attitude were they recommending for us? (b) Does the fact that the end is near mean that Christians must make big changes in their way of life, or what?
14 Then what did Jesus and the apostles mean when they spoke of being alert as to the signs of the end, or as to “awaiting and keeping close in mind the presence of the day of Jehovah”? They meant for us to be absolutely confident that the day will not come one moment later than Jehovah purposes. Peter said that this should prompt us to “holy acts of conduct and deeds of godly devotion,” being watchful that we are living by Bible principles and that we are busy proclaiming the Kingdom message and convincing people of the urgency of turning to God. (2 Pet. 3:11, 12) All of us can make improvements in our worship of God, cementing a closer relationship with him. Perhaps we have up to this time done the best we can, and have made improvements as we went along. Does the fact that the end is very near, then, mean to us that we should make big changes in our way of living and serving God? Not necessarily so. However, there may be major improvements that we Scripturally need to make. Also, if there are areas in our life in which we can ‘buy out’ time from vain pursuits in this system we should do it. In this way, many have continued to experience the joy of full-time “pioneer” service over the years. All of us can check to see what we can do.—Eph. 5:15, 16.
15. If a person has regulated his life with the view that the end would come on a certain date, what should he now do?
15 But it is not advisable for us to set our sights on a certain date, neglecting everyday things we would ordinarily care for as Christians, such as things that we and our families really need. We may be forgetting that, when the “day” comes, it will not change the principle that Christians must at all times take care of all their responsibilities. If anyone has been disappointed through not following this line of thought, he should now concentrate on adjusting his viewpoint, seeing that it was not the word of God that failed or deceived him and brought disappointment, but that his own understanding was based on wrong premises.
16. If you have counted heavily on a certain date in all sincerity, what comfort can you find in the situation?
16 However, say that you are one who counted heavily on a date, and, commendably, set your attention more strictly on the urgency of the times and the need of the people to hear. And say you now, temporarily, feel somewhat disappointed; are you really the loser? Are you really hurt? We believe you can say that you have gained and profited by taking this conscientious course. Also, you have been enabled to get a really mature, more reasonable viewpoint.—Eph. 5:1-17.