Luke 12:35 – “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning…”
Jesus often spoke to the disciples about future events, although, for the most part, they didn’t grasp what he was trying to tell them. The four he specifically focused on were – his death, his resurrection, the coming Holy Spirit and his return. He was aware how short his time with them was and the time of his death was drawing ever closer; he knew how hard it would be on them all. He wanted to leave them with the hope of his rising, the comfort of a helper and the anticipation of his return. He wanted them to carry on the work of the kingdom, just as they had been doing, but with the added expectation that he would one day come back to take home all those who had believed and trusted in him. He said to them:
“Be like men who are waiting for their master to come home … so that they may open the door to him at once … blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Luke12)
He wanted them to understand that it would be sudden and without warning so they were to make sure they were prepared. They were to be vigilant and ready, for when the time comes – “Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.” (Matt24)
He explained it further through the story of the 10 virgins of which 5 were wise and 5 were foolish. They all went out to meet the bridegroom although they didn’t know the time of his arrival. All of them took their lamps but only the wise brought extra oil; only the wise were prepared. “The bridegroom came and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.” (Matt25)
The lesson here is ‘Don’t become complacent’. Like the disciples, we too should be living in the anticipation of Christ’s return. If we knew that the Lord was coming back next week, would it create more of an urgency to talk to family and friends who had not yet accepted Christ as their Saviour? We tend to live our lives with the notion of having plenty of time and we put off conversations that we know we should be having, but what if there is not as much time as we think? Are we truly ready? Do our lives reflect his sacrifice?
I pray that the Holy Spirit continues to convict me of complacency and stagnant service so that when he returns or calls me home, I will be worthy of the words I long to hear… “well done, good and faithful servant.”