Mark 13:32-37 - (Jesus said) "But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. 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 servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake."
Have you ever been put in charge of something for a period of time? When that happened, how did things go? Was everything in place and ready for the returning person? Had details been tended to? Was the returning person happy with his or her choice of you as an overseer? Would they choose you again?
Or was it like the teenager whose parents took off on an overseas vacation? Now if the teenager was prone to partying—and he was—his parents' return trip from overseas certainly gave him enough lead time to tidy up their house before their arrival. That is, unless they came back a day early—which they did.
The day that was to be spent tidying up rooms, taking out trash, hauling away cans and bottles, and emptying ashtrays never quite happened—at least not the way the teenager intended. Instead, his parents arrived home—24 hours early—to the sight of the left-behind wreckage of several parties, and one very groggy son.
As a strong word of caution to believers to escape the fate of being caught off guard and unready, Jesus tells us to "Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come." The New Testament is full of exhortations to be alert (see Matthew 24:44; 1 Peter 1:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:2-9; Luke 21:36). These sincere words of spiritual advice have been given to us for a reason: Jesus will return for His people, and we do not know when.
These urgings from the Savior and His apostles for our full attention to the Lord's return still ring true in the 21st century. The battle for our attention is fierce and comes from every angle. We're blitzed by flashy distractions and lulled to sleep at the same time. The universe-shaking triumph of Jesus' victory over sin, death, and the devil can get lost in the flurry of our age.
That is, if we're not ready.
But we can be ready and waiting for the Master to return. Jesus tells us, "Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning, and be like men who are waiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those servants whom the master finds awake when he comes" (Luke 12:35-37a).
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, make us ready for Your Son's return. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Paul Schreiber.
1. What do you do at work or in school to stay prepared and on top of things?
2. Though Scripture does not tell us when Jesus will return, it does tell us He will return. Does that help you stay alert?
3. Has God put you "in charge" of something? How do you stay focused on your task(s)?
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