Opening Thoughts: Danae and I cross the border into the U.S. a lot, mainly because we are able to save around 50% on our grocery bill every month. It’s crazy, sometimes I think that here in Canada we must get out our food shipped from an entirely different planet judging by the cost. There is a catch though, in shopping across the line you must go through the dreaded border crossing and speak to the terrifying guards who ask you all kinds of insane questions like “Are you hiding drugs in your tomatoes?” they do this to see if they can stump a person up and possibly catch someone who actually is hiding drugs. I once had a guard ask me if I had drugs with me and when I told him NO, he said “why not?!” Funny right? Well it actually did stump me up a little because I wasn’t expecting him to say that. What I have found over the years though is that these border guards are amazing people who are trained to catch criminals in the act. One thing the border patrol likes to see is a person who is completely prepared when they arrive at the window. What I mean is that you have your passports out and ready for them, your receipts in hand and then you wait for their cue and only answer the questions they ask. If you drive up to the window and they have to ask you for your passports you are headed for trouble. But can you blame them? There is a warning sign as you sit in the line up that tells you to have your documents prepared, there is no excuse not to be prepared.
We cannot afford to simply have our lines rehearsed, play church, play youth group, just doing it to try and escape trouble when we die. Unlike a border guard Jesus can see through every motive, thought, action, intention, act of kindness, everything. When Christ returns He will come looking for a people who have been radically changed, a people who are eagerly waiting for His appearing, not practicing what they will say when the time comes. Jesus says in Matthew 7:21-23 that there will be people who profess to believe and even confess that He is their Lord. When he challenges them on the authenticity of their faith they will resort to a list of things that they have done within the church in the name of Christ, sadly many will be turned away because their faith was misplaced and was not genuine. Let’s read our text and be sure that we are among those who will eagerly be awaiting His return.
Luke 12:35-40 ESV .. “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, he will dress himself for service and have them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! But know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have left his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
Stay Dressed for Action: In this text we see two seemingly opposing ideas that intersect to perfectly describe how a servant of the Lord acts. These ideas are “Ready for Action” and “Waiting for Jesus”. The first picture is that Jesus calls us to be dressed and ready for action always, some texts read “Let your loins stay girded”. In the days of Christ men would wear rather long robes (not sure about you but I’m glad to be wearing pants these days) needless to say the robes were hardly conducive for war or action. If a man was going to be prepared for action he would take the tail of his robe and tuck it under his belt so that he would be free to move quickly without restraint. If he knew something was brewing he would be sure to keep his “loins girded” always. We find the very same style of talk in Ephesians 6 when Paul is writing about how the believer is to have the armor of God on and literally be prepared at any moment and always, for action.
Often times when we picture someone waiting around for another person it seems like a boring thing to do, something that drags on and on. But the way Jesus explains it is that our waiting is like anticipating. He compares it to servants who are waiting for their master to return from a wedding and the moment he knocks at the door they are waiting and ready to open it. These servants aren’t dreading his return, they long for his return, why? Because they love him and know that he is a good and loving master. We see the kindness displayed in this master as Jesus explains how he will dress himself for service and placing his servants in a place of honor will begin to serve them.
As I sit and write I am overwhelmed to tears just thinking of what my JESUS went through when He was nailed to a tree, whipped and beaten to a pulp, He literally bore all of God’s wrath that would have otherwise been poured out on me, it’s almost unthinkable, but that’s what He did and that’s the kind of master He is.
Like a Thief in the Night: The thought of someone breaking into your home is not pleasant. I had a friend tell me of a time when this happened to him. It was about 2 am when he woke to hear someone downstairs going through drawers and papers. He had two little kids at the time and had really no idea what he was up against. He wasn’t prepared for this. In fact the only thing he had in his bedroom to defend his family was a wooden slat from the futon he and his wife slept on. He quietly removed one of the slats and stood behind his bedroom door, and with all the strength he could muster he yelled at the top of his lungs “You better leave or I’ll use this one you!” With that the thief darted out the door and was never seen again. A situation like that really could have gone either way, it actually could have gotten really ugly. If my friend had known that a thief was on the way he would have been prepared.
Jesus of course is unlike a thief because He is perfect, holy and good. However, He will return in the manner of a thief, when we least expect it. It doesn’t even matter if you live long enough to actually see Jesus return for the second time or not, death comes to 10 out of 10 people and most times when we aren’t expecting it. In the end all will be laid bare before Christ and He will joyfully welcome all those who are eagerly waiting for His return.
Conclusion: What about you? Are you waiting for His return, does your life reflect the finished work on the cross? Do you love what is righteous, hate was is evil and seek daily to obey the commands of Christ to take the Gospel to the world while alleviating suffering around you? Do you love what God hates, and hate what he loves? Are you in the line up for the border crossing with your passports sitting at home? This would be a good time to examine yourself, test yourself to see if you are really in the faith. If you find that your life doesn’t match up with how the Bible describes a Christian, then repent of your sins (turn away from them) and trust in Jesus Christ and His finished work on the Cross. Beg Him to save you just like the thief on the cross did, and He will grant you the gift of Eternal Life.
2 Timothy 4:8 ESV .. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing
Preparing The Way