December 2, Wednesday 
The Necessity for Watchfulness

Mark 13:33-37 (NRSV)

Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. Therefore, keep awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, or else he may find you asleep when he comes suddenly. And what I say to you I say to all: Keep awake.”

I like to be prepared. I like to have a pocket-knife and flashlight on me at all times, I like to have a toolset of some kind nearby at home or at the office and I don’t feel comfortable until my backup plan has a plan b. This probably has to do with having grown up in a small town near the coast, where hurricane season means keeping an eye out for destructive hurricanes. So, when Mark exhorts listeners to be watchful, I’ve got that down: add Jesus to the checklist of things to watch out for. Along with impending doom from gigantic storms on the horizon, I will keep an eye out for the impending return of Jesus as well.  

You don’t want a hurricane sneaking up on you; you either need the supplies ready to live without power and water after the storm, or the supplies to run away from the storm. So naturally, my subconscious doesn’t want Jesus sneaking up on me. I have never wanted to turn around and see Jesus standing there, saying, “Gotcha! You weren’t prepared!”  Reading Mark, I can’t help but hear this,
         “35 Therefore, keep awake-for you do not know when the master of the house will              
         come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or at dawn, 36 or else he may find you
         asleep when he comes suddenly.”

However, after re-reading the passage, I don’t think this is what Mark meant by, “keep awake.”

The return of the master of the house is a sign of completion: everyone is home. As followers of Christ, we are partaking in God’s Kingdom on earth. Right now, our king is away. We have his spirit, but he does not walk bodily among us. The return of Christ is the Kingdom becoming complete. This is something to be excited about! You and I don’t want to be asleep for this! Mark isn’t implying Jesus will punish us for being asleep, Mark just doesn’t want us to miss out on the homecoming!

As you lean in to this season where we expect the birth of Jesus, remember that as a church we are also expecting the return of our king.

Reflection
What are you waiting for? Is Jesus the boss you need to be busy for? Or are you waiting for the king to return to the Kingdom?

Prayer
God, when I just want to know what the plan is, when you’re coming back,
Make me truly watchful
God, when I get so busy, I forget to be on the look out for you,
Make me truly watchful
God, when you seem so far away, it’s easy to forget you’ll return,
Make me truly watchful
God, when my life is too full to see you,
Make me truly watchful

By Marty Pike, Minister to Children & Youth
Pulaski Heights Baptist Church, Little Rock

 

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