Are You Ready For That Day to Come?

I remember hearing of a church that had a sign posted in their foyer beside the auditorium doors that read, “No one will be admitted after the service has begun; late-comers will be seated in the nursery.” Evidently it was very important at that church to be on time! We could have the same policy here at Denbigh… as long as the nursery was several times larger than the auditorium! Getting here on time is not a huge priority here. Sometimes I wish people were more punctual, but then there are a lot more things we need to work on more in our lives that getting to church on time!

Being punctual isn’t a big deal in the Bible; being ready is a very big deal. Jesus is constantly telling us that “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him” (Matt 24:44). We have to “keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come” (Matt 24:42). That is then point of the parable of the wise and foolish virgins in Matthew 25. And that is the point of our reading today from Luke 12:35–40

Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

This sounds like the parable of the ten virgin in Matthew 25. Instead of bridesmaids ready for their part in a wedding processional that has been delayed, here it is a master coming home late from a banquet. The servants don’t know when he will get there, but they will be blessed if they are awake and alert and ready to let him into the house. He will be in good spirits with plenty of leftovers to serve them if they are ready to serve him. Just like thieves don’t announce their coming in advance, they master won’t announce his coming in advance. So the only way to be ready for the master’s arrival is to be watchful and stay ready all the time.

The apostles don’t get it. We know that because Peter goes all Robert DeNiro here, “You talkin’ to me?” (See Luke 12:41). He wants to know whether the warning Jesus gives about being ready applies to the disciples or is it for the general public. Jesus answers by telling another parable that basically says the same thing—you don’t know when the master is coming so stay ready for him all the time (12:42-46).

We know that we don’t know when Jesus is returning. And we know that we don’t know when we are going to die. The 1000+ victims of the earthquake in China this week shared one thing in common with the 200,000 killed in the Haiti earthquake—they did not expect that they were going to die. We know that the only life we are guaranteed is what we are living right now at the present; that could be taken away at any instant. And then its Hebrews 9:27, “Each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment.”

So if we know all that… why do we live like we have ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD? We don’t. One day we’ll wake up to our last day, and we’ll likely still think that we have all the time in the world. If we are going to be ready when our master comes, we’d better be ready right now. What would you do if you thought Jesus was coming today? Why not go and do it?