by Todd Strandberg

Green Bananas

I’ve been to at least three prophecy conferences where one of the speakers opened with the following humorous declaration: “I’m so expectantly looking forward to the Lord Jesus’ return, I don’t buy green bananas.”

It’s always good to add levity to a presentation. But my mind turns to more serious thoughts as I wonder whether people are actually following this advice.

The fact is, most confessing believers seem totally oblivious to end-time signs.

They choose their bananas solely according to how fast they expect to consume them. The coming of the Lord Jesus doesn’t factor into even their most long-term plans. It is an occurrence they consider about as likely to happen as an epic disaster such as a mammoth meteor striking the earth. "It could happen," they think, "but odds are, it won't happen in our lifetime."

Because I’m the head of a prophetic ministry, people occasionally ask me for advice. Several Christian friends have inquired about what type of long-term plans they should make in regard to prophecy.

My general advice has always been to stay busy. Our goal should not be to simply pass the time. We need to be aware that some day, every second of our lives will be evaluated for its level of productivity.

“For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works” (Mat 16:27).

It Takes Time

The driving force behind any Christian effort should be the desire to do works pleasing to God. Without this as our primary consideration, we either give up or revert to doing everything to please ourselves.

The sense of urgency we feel about what we do should come from a realization of how much time we need to accomplish God’s will. Bananas may ripen overnight, but it takes many days to produce fruit that comes from sowing the gospel message.

We spend our junior years just learning the basics of life. It’s not until we become young adults that we we have gained the skills to truly be productive.

I started Rapture Ready in 1987 when I was 22 years old. I had no idea it would take me this long to build traffic up to the level we see now. I am very grateful that I have had 21 years to work on the site. My best guess is that we don’t have another two decades before the Lord calls his bride home.

My advice for anyone thinking about doing something to help the cause of Christ is this: "Start now." It is far better to be found in the planning stages of good works than to be found just sitting around doing nothing.

"Go and preach the good news to everyone in the world. Anyone who believes me and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe me will be condemned" (Mark 16:15-16 CEV).

We Don’t Know How Much Time We Have Left

The Bible is full of clues about when the tribulation hour will kick off. Jesus outlined many signs we will see that will tell us that his return is near: "And he said also to the people, When ye see a cloud rise out of the west, straightway ye say, There cometh a shower; and so it is. And when ye see the south wind blow, ye say, There will be heat; and it cometh to pass. Ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky and of the earth; but how is it that ye do not discern this time?" (Luke 12:54-56).

One thing we will never know is the exact day and hour of the rapture: "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only" (Mat. 24:36).

Many people operate according to the game plan that they will stop buying green bananas when the signs of the time become more prevalent. This isn't a wise plan, considering what Jesus said in Revelation 3:3: "Remember therefore what you have received and heard; and keep it, and repent. If therefore you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you."

A day will come when it is simply too late to do anything that requires time. A young child who wishes to grow up to be a preacher may be out of luck if the Lord is coming back next year. If Jesus is coming next month, the efforts of someone preparing to lead a mission team to Africa will be equally futile.

Some day, we won’t even have time to eat the ripe bananas. The only thing we can do is take action now and hope that God’s end-time schedule grants us a few more years.

Our work is made all the more urgent by the fact that our progress limits the amount of time we have left. "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end [of this age] will come" (Mat. 24:14).

Buy the Whole Plantation

When I retired from the Air Force, I decided to get away from the base. I moved up north to a home that is situated just north of Dodge Street. Several blocks to the east of me, a famous man also lives just off Dodge.

Warren Buffett is currently listed as the richest man in the world. He is the CEO and largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway, a holding company with $120 billion of equity assets.

Berkshire owns a diverse range of businesses, including insurance, candy production, retail, home furnishings, encyclopedias, vacuum cleaners, jewelry sales, newspaper publishing, uniform manufacture and distribution, and the manufacture, import and distribution of footwear.

One thing I find interesting about Buffett–in a tragic way–is that he doesn’t believe in God. He is listed on several atheist sites as someone who rejects the idea of a creator.

Despite having hundreds of subsidiaries, Berkshire doesn’t own any firms involved in the growing of bananas. Knowing how Mr. Buffett operates, it’s doubtful he would invest in this type of business that traditionally has a low profit margin.

One day, Buffet will realize there is a Supreme Being who created all things. By the time he reaches that conclusion, his financial empire will be in great peril. By the end of the tribulation, little will be left of any type of earthly wealth.

If men like Warren knew the fate of the world, they would seek to diversify their holdings into spiritual assets that could survive the tribulation. The knowledge of future events would cause them to be so profoundly focused on heavenly matters that they would gladly buy a whole banana plantation, with every shade of green and yellow bananas readily at hand. They would understand that even though the green ones might not have time to ripen before the Lord returns, it's critical to remain busy about His work until the last possible moment.

"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mat. 16:24-26).