"Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."
"Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans - born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace."
"Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty."
During his campaign for the presidency in 1960, Kennedy closed many of his speeches with one particular story - that of a certain Colonel Davenport, the Speaker of the Connecticut House of Representatives, during the events that unfolded on May 19th, 1780…
"In 1780 in Hartford Connecticut, the skies at noon turned one day from blue to gray, and by mid-afternoon the city had darkened over so densely that in that religious age men fell on their knees and begged a final blessing before the end came. The Connecticut House of Representatives was in session, and many of the members clamored for immediate adjournment."
"The Speaker of the House, one Colonel Davenport, came to his feet, and he silenced the din with these words: "The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish, therefore, that candles may be brought."
As Christians, we believe in the return of Jesus Christ to earth. This is known as the doctrine of the Second Coming. But no one knows exactly when that event will transpire. To be sure, Jesus gave us some signs to look for which will indicate that His return is near. The twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew, among other New Testament passages, contains a great many of these signs.
Here, Jesus speaks of:
wars and rumors of wars;
nation rising against nation, and kingdom against kingdom;
famines and earthquakes in various places;
believers being hated and persecuted and put to death because of Him;
many turning away from the faith and betraying and hating each other;
many false prophets appearing and deceiving many people;
because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most growing cold;
the sun being darkened and the moon will not giving its light;
stars falling from the sky and heavenly bodies being shaken;
many false messiahs and false prophets appearing and performing great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the very elect.
It is arguable that many of these things are unfolding in our current lifetime. More so than at any time before in history, we see these "signs of the times" coming to pass.
The question is: in light of this, what should we do? Should we cower in fear? Should we shrink back in dread? Should we resign the world, move to the mountaintop, and simply stare at the sky?
No, according to Jesus, rather than fearing what is to come, we must stay faithful till He returns. Instead of fearing the dark, we must be lights shining in that very darkness as we watch and await His coming.
And for my part, when my Lord does return, like Colonel Davenport, I want to be found doing my duty! I want to be found holding forth a light in the midst of the darkness while I am faithfully fulfilling my God given purpose!
COL. DAVENPORT STORY: http://www.jfklibrary.org/Research/Research-Aids/JFK-Speeches/Washington-DC_19600920.aspx.