Q: Will those who really believe in the imminent coming of the Lord spend their time in building big structures, even for Christian work?
A: There is no reason why those who believe that the Lord may come at any time should not build the very best buildings they can for the most effective carrying on of His work until He comes.
Those who have an intelligent faith founded upon the Word of God that the Lord may come soon, do not set a time for His coming. Though there are so many indications that He will come very soon, He may not come for many years. Time and again the past history of the world those who were living nearest to God felt that the coming of the Lord was just at hand. Martin Luther felt so, but the Lord has not come yet. Martin Luther was not mistaken for the Lord was at hand. Those who were mistaken were those who said, “My Lord delayeth His coming” and therefore neglected earnest service for Him.
It has been the purpose of God from the very beginning to keep His people in ignorance as to the exact time of our Lord’s return, and while we believe most positively that He may come at any moment and that we should always be looking for His appearing (Luke 12:35-37) we should never set a date for His coming nor assert positively that He will come in our own generation, but always bear in mind our Lord’s own parting words to His disciples, “It is not for you to know times or seasons, which the Father hath set within His own authority” (Acts 1:7), and we should go on laying the best plans we can and make the best preparations we can for the most energetic prosecution of His work possible until He actually does come.
Furthermore, even if He should come today the buildings that we have built for His work are not built in vain; His work will go on after the Church is caught up, and these buildings will be useful when we are gone and will be used for the glory of God throughout the Millennium. If the Lord should come tomorrow, it would be found that those who had made the mistake were not those who had put large sums of money into buildings for the carrying on of His work but those who had used their money for their own selfish gratification.
–Originally published in The King’s Business, December 1914, pp. 720 and 730.