May 5, 2011
(Jesus said) "And what I say to you I say to all: 'Stay awake.'" Mark 13:37
Last week on a flight to Chicago, I sat next to a "white-knuckler." For those of you who don't know, a white-knuckler is a person who is terrified to fly.
Me, I'm usually asleep before we taxi away from the gate and I wake up when we land. Knowing I can't do anything in the unlikely situation something goes wrong I usually take a catnap.
On the other hand, I expect others -- others who are in control of my immediate future -- to stay awake. One of the people I'd like to have awake and alert is the pilot; the other is the air-traffic controller.
This is why the reports about controllers and pilots sleeping have been rather disturbing.
The Wall Street Journal says there are any number of reasons to explain why a controller might drift off to lullaby land: too many hours, too much stress, working in a darkened room, periods of intense commotion followed by hours of inactivity -- they all can contribute to an individual falling asleep. Even so, there is nothing more important than for the controller to stay awake and alert.
Lives depend on them staying awake.
It occurs to me that the same holds true for us. We need to stay spiritually awake. Indeed, in the text above Jesus tells us we need to be watchful; we need to be ready for that unknown hour when He returns.
To spiritually fall asleep, to be ignorant or oblivious to the great grace we have been given through Jesus' life, suffering, death and resurrection is incredibly dangerous. Indeed, to fall asleep on that job doesn't just jeopardize our eternal home. It guarantees we will crash.
This is why, in spite of the world's distractions and regardless of the devil's temptations, there is nothing more important for us than to be prepared for the day of personal or global judgment.
So to you and to all who see these words, we pass on the Savior's advice and encouragement: "Stay awake."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, You have done all that is necessary to save me. Now I pray that I, along with the rest of the world may value Your gift. Keep us awake so our last day on earth may be a blessed one. In Your Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries