Am thinking it might illustrate a way to move forward with our conversation about living in anticipation of end times.
There’s a bit of irony here. Many of us believe that being ready for Christ’s promised return prepares us for eternity. Yet, in such readiness, there must be a point of diminishing returns. More than a few have gotten so wrapped up in end time speculation that they have failed to live wisely now– while preparing for the possibility that Christ may not come in their lifetime.
So what “above all” do we need to consider— in light of the fact that “the end of all things” deserves our attention.
This is a question that seems to have been in the mind of the Apostle Peter from the beginning. He wrote, “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” (1Pet 4:7-8).
In many ways, the Apostle is repeating the wisdom of the ages (Prov 10:12). More than a few ancient proverbs say things like “The discretion of a man makes him slow to anger, And his glory is to overlook a transgression (Prov. 19:11).
Yet, in the course of trying to “overlook” and “cover-over” the wrongs of others, we might find ourselves with a question. How do we practice this “above all” counsel, in light of “the end of all things”? What do we do with all of the counter-counsel that tells us not to overlook and cover up the wrongs of others?
In fact, there is at least one wise saying that seems to affirm both concealment and confrontation: He who covers a transgression seeks love, but he who repeats a matter separates friends. Rebuke is more effective for a wise man than a hundred blows for a fool (Prov 17:9-10).
Since both themes are advanced in the Bible, we need to find a way to know when to confront (James 5:20) (Gal 6:1) (Matt 18:15-17) (Prov 17:6) and when to look the other way (1Peter 4:8). How can love do both?
If I suggest that I think the answer to this riddle lies within itself, does that sound like double-talk?
And what about the milkweed facing its own end? Does the picture suggest anything about the wisdom of its/our Creator? Does it even give us reason to look at what Peter went on to say (1Peter 4:9-10)?