Here’s Paul’s description of the last days (see if it sounds familiar).
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. 2 Timothy 4:2-5
That’s quite a list. Bring any names to mind?
People will be lovers of themselves. Are these folks in our churches or better stated drifting out of our churches? You decide.
Lovers of money. Do members who don’t tithe fit into this category?
Boastful. What about folks who (haven’t given a dime to the church, by the way) drive by the church to show off their new $100,000+ car? Do they count in this category or the one above or maybe the one below? I’m not quite sure.
Proud. Blessed are the meek? Who said that? Must be someone who doesn’t know how the world works. (More correctly: spoken by Someone who knows exactly how the world works).
Abusive. Why are so many clergy walking away from their calling? Why are so few young people willing to become pastors? They’ve seen it: the trashing of pastors. Ministers’ backs full of knives. The pastoral family pulled through the mud. Conclusion: It’s not worth it.
Disobedient to their parents. Have you walked through a high school lately?
Ungrateful. People need not grovel, but an occasional “thank you” is nice.
Unholy. Does anyone strive after holiness anymore? Where have all the saints gone?
Without love. A lot of people should be apologizing to the priest and the Levite in the Good Samaritan story or at least say, “Hey, I get it. I’ve done the same thing. Repeatedly.”
Unforgiving. One of the sweetest ladies I know said these exact words to me: “I will NEVER forgive my son-in-law.” Gulp.
Slanderous. I’ve been called every name in the book. Every single name. If it has four letters, I’ve been called it. By church folks. Who have claimed to be sanctified.
Without self-control. Read: Splurge. Go for it. You deserve it.
Brutal. There is more anger spewed today than ever. People are angry. Really angry.
Not lovers of the good. The more vulgar, the more grotesque, the higher the ratings. Hollywood knows: Bad behavior sells.
Treacherous. It doesn’t matter who gets hurt or how you get it– just get yours!
Rash. Guilty until proven innocent is often the modus operandi.
Conceited. Me. Myself and I are the three most important people in many minds.
Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Check out any of the following on a Sunday morning: Soccer fields, amusement parks, football stadiums, coffee shops, campgrounds, lakes and hiking trails and any number of alternative to church locations.
Having a form of godliness but denying its power. See the numerous scripture verses posted on social media by people who’ve come to mind on the above list and you’ll know the truth of this last characteristic.
Paul concludes his all-inclusive, must-have-seen-the-21st-century, list with these startling words:
Have nothing to do with such people. (2 Timothy 4:5)
Yikes! Would there be anyone left to talk to in our churches? Could I talk to myself? Not always. No wonder churches are looking more and more like Blockbuster and Radio Shack these days. Paul nailed us. Now the question: What are we going to do about it.