Sermon Illustrations

One of my favorite pastimes is playing some computer games, especially the ones where you make money—okay, run a business, simulation, or that kind of thing. In one of these you, as manager of a transportation company, have the opportunity to choose how best to serve the industries and communities on the computer-generated, random, map. I myself love trains and use that as my favorite means of transport but the game also allows you to use motor vehicles, aircraft, and ships, depending on the variables you face. For example, the mainland may have an oil well complex generating crude oil, but you really can’t do anything with the crude oil until you haul it to a refinery, where the “oil” becomes “goods”. And, if the refinery is on an island, you might be able to use rail but sometimes ships are the answer. You get the idea, I’m sure, about the challenges and opportunities you encounter in the game. After all, I’ve never made much money in real life but in this game, I’ve been a multi-millionaire many times over!

But, of all things, the game has something that gives me a very graphic description of the term “immanent”. Most of the time, I’ve heard the term “immanent” used to describe something like the return of Jesus Christ to this earth for His saints. Dr. J. Vernon McGee in one of his “Thru the Bible Radio” studies stated that the Rapture could be at any moment, or “tissue thin”, in his words. Now, some of us may still not get it, but this one computer game gave me an idea.

Occasionally, in the game, a message will appear, something along the lines that “Industry X” faces “immanent shutdown!” or closure or something similar. The catch is, you know the industry is going to go “out of business”—but you don’t know when, until the industry in question literally disappears from the map! Once that happens, the cargoes are useless, and you can only haul away what was already produced or more or less in storage at your depot or terminal. You could also either scrap what you were using or find another destination.

But the key is “immanent”, meaning that a greater power than you is going to close one of your destinations. It’s closing, but has not yet closed, giving you a window of opportunity to get the most “raw material” or finished product hauled to the industry before it closes up. For good.

There is a parallel in the New Testament. We have no way of knowing when the Rapture is going to happen (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). No need to speculate, as we can do little to stop or even delay God’s calendar. But we surely can take advantage of the opportunities we have. We can witness, pray, share encouraging words, and any number of other things, while we’re here. But when the trumpet sounds, that’s it, the game’s over and anything we didn’t get done is going to be left behind.

Immanent—coming, but not announced; definite, but not described. Are you ready for the immanent return of the Lord Jesus Christ? Am I?

If not, we can be! Be ready today!

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