2 Timothy 4:8 - 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.
When I was in the parish, I liked going to see people in their homes.
You just never knew what was going to happen. I remember one instance when I came calling unexpectedly. From the street I had seen shadows of my people moving around in their home. As I came up the walk, I could hear music playing and see the TV flickering.
I knew somebody was there.
Knocking, I heard footsteps coming toward the door. The steps stopped and in a rather loud whisper someone said, "Oh, no! It's the preacher." Another voice said, "No, not the preacher, not now. What does he want?" Then I heard the mother of the house whisper loudly enough so that I and everyone else could hear: "Don't let him in yet. Clean up the house first!"
Normally, this mother was a quiet, soft-spoken soul: the kind of lady who was loved and was respected by all who knew her. Normally, she was gentle as a lamb and her words were filled with kindness. But when she said, "Quick, clean up the house!" those words had iron in them.
There was no discussion, no argument, no "Do I have to?" or "It's not my job."
When mom said, "Quick, clean up the house!" everybody hopped to. I knocked again. Mom began to bark out orders like a drill sergeant: "You, get the Sunday paper and put it away! You, put the Bible on the coffee table, and you, get your dirty socks off the kitchen counter." To her husband she said, "Put on a clean shirt. I won't let the pastor see you in that old thing. Next time I throw it away, I'm going to do it on garbage day so you can't fish it out of the trash."
Now all of this took less time to do than it does to tell. Eventually, when she was assured that at least the living room was clean enough for inspection, the door opened, and mother -- brushing a few disheveled hairs back from her brow -- invited me in.
With a flushed face from running around, she began with a little white lie and said, "Pastor, I'm sorry. We didn't hear you."
I had a hard time keeping a straight face.
Now I hope you have found that story a bit amusing. It was meant to be.
If so, it stands in contrast to the way things will be on the last Day when the Savior comes calling. Like me, He is going to come without warning but, unlike me, He is not going to wait patiently for us to get our homes in order. Either we will be ready for His arrival -- or we will not.
It is my prayer that you will be ready and I hope you pray the same for all those around. So we might be cleansed of our sins and saved, God's Son was born onto this world. So we might not find Judgment Day to be disturbing, Jesus carried our sins, resisted temptation, and conquered death.
Because He has done all we could not, we who believe are able to rejoice. When Jesus returns, we will be ready.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I rejoice in the blessing who is Jesus. He has transformed the way I live now as well as how I will react when He comes again. Grant that others may see and appreciate His saving sacrifice. In His Name I pray. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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