The church in which I grew up talked a lot about the imminence of the Second Coming and the Day of Judgment. We focused on being personally prepared—confessing our sins and our faith in Jesus, and cultivating our particular forms of piety. Our drive was to convert souls for heaven.
In preparing so assiduously for the last days, we missed something important: our responsibility to address the real needs of desperate people. If the world and its ills will soon pass away, these needs will feel less urgent. I have come to believe, however, that the Bible's vision of eschatology discourages such forgetfulness. Living in the last days means relieving the needs of particular people, and confronting the ills of all humanity.