Two men will be out working in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be tending together in the house; one will be taken, and one will be left. This is the picture Jesus paints when He talks about what it will be like on the day that He returns, when God comes to set right all the broken things in this world. And He is making a distinction here between believers and unbelievers, between the righteous and the unrighteous, between those justified by faith and those not. We get that.
What we skim right over, what we read without comprehending, what is right before our very eyes that we easily miss, is what else He says without saying it here: there ought to be no separation in this world between believers and unbelievers, righteous and unrighteous, justified and not.
If two men are working in a field and one is taken and one is left, the one living by faith is working hand-in-hand with the one not. If two women are tending in the house together and one is taken and one is left, the believer toils alongside the unbeliever. In the same space. Close enough to know what happens to the one and what happens to the other. Close enough to see plainly. Close as brothers.
A lot of us think that we're better off surrounding ourselves with Christian friends. That we ought to center our lives around being with other persons who believe exactly the same as we do. We're ready to write off and to excommunicate anyone who doesn't take our faith seriously for themselves, and we have convinced ourselves that this is the better way.
As if, when that day comes, the "church" is going to be some kind of bus stop for the rapture, and if we're not all together with one another right there, we're going to miss our ride. As if, if we were caught in the presence of the unbelievers, we might be mistaken for one and left behind.
But that's not what Jesus says. What Jesus says is that, side-by-side, hand-in-hand...one is taken and one is left. So we need not fear being "in the world," so long as we remember we are not "of the world."
And the truth is, it's good for us to be among unbelievers. It's good for the righteous to spend time with the unrighteous. It's good for us to put our faith in a place where it is tested, for when it is tested, it becomes more authentic. It becomes more secure. It becomes more real.
Faith is all nice and pretty, but when you come to the place where you actually have to use it, it becomes breathtaking.
Not only that, but how should we ever expect the unrighteous to become righteous or the unbeliever to believer if we have separated ourselves from them and refuse to toil in their fields? I say that as a former unrighteous unbeliever who owes her faith to someone who was willing to come hand-in-hand with me, who was willing to work in the same field for a time. Had we met Jesus then, he would have been taken and I would have been left, but because of his willingness to be right there, may we both be taken.
We don't have to fear the world. We don't have to cut ourselves off. We don't have to hole up in our churches and make sure we're at the right stop when the bus comes. Our God who raises the dead to life, who makes the blind see, who makes the deaf hear, who makes the mute speak, is more than capable of finding us wherever we are.
So let's be out in the field...together with the unbeliever. Let's be tending the house...together with the unrighteous. Let's be justified living with the unjustified. Let's be hand-in-hand with brothers we haven't met yet, side-by-side with sisters we don't know. Let's be where we can see what's happening with one another, for when we are, we both shall see Jesus more clearly.