Be Dressed to…
† Jesus, Son, Savior †
May the grace of God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ strengthen your faith, so that no only are you ready for Christ’s return, but that you wait with great joy and expectation! AMEN!
Remembering the Long Nights
Reading the gospel, I was taken back nearly forty years, to my second job in 1980, washing dishes and doing all the grunt work, working 10 pm to 6 am – the graveyard shift.
Those nights were long, and hard at times, but there were some moments, especially as the morning sun light shattered the darkness, that are unforgettable. The peace, the beauty, the relief, I don’t know if I can find the words to explain it.
I think the time we are in, as we await the return of Jesus, is a lot like those dark nights.
As surely as the dawn came to end those nights, so to will our “dark nights” end, as we experience the return of the Son.
The Dark Nights of the Soul
Jesus talks a lot about the Kingdom of God, and about the time when it will be seen in all of its glory. A lot of these conversations, as today’s has Jesus urging us to seek God’s Kingdom and to be ready for the moment our Lord returns.
It’s something we need to take seriously, just as I had to have all the dishes done, and the plates stacked, the maple syrup heated and the vat of coffee ready for the people who would come in the morning, expecting to be served.
But those nights were long and dark. There was a lot of work to be done. There were times of fear, like when we got robbed, or a man had a grand mal seizure. There were other times where it was so tempting to fall asleep, because the early morning was so boring and slowwww, and one could get so tired, one might even fall asleep while sitting on the toilet. Not that I know anyone who would have possibly done that.
But our life, waiting for Jesus to return, is much like that. We might be distracted by the business, and all the tasks, we might have moments where trauma seems dominant, and anxiety paralyzes us. Other times, we get so, so tired, and rather than looking to Jesus, we just fall spiritually asleep, unable to pay attention to the promises of God, and His warnings about His return.
I am not talking about actual sleep, but spiritual sleep, the kind of lethargic and eventually unconscious feeling that comes over us, as we stop looking to God, and start falling into temptation, and unaware of God’s grace, we are put into bondage or oppressed by the sin which Hebrews says can so easily trap us.
For nothing will cause us to be unprepared for Jesus return like sin does. It grabs our attention, it coddles and pleasure us for a moment, and having broken us, leaves us. We might not consider it all that much, a little lie here, a thought there, and well, that action can’t be as bad a sin as others would make it out to be. I mean, it didn’t hurt anyone, and other people seem to think it is okay.
And heck, pastor never mentions “that” sin.
Sin is sin, and if you aren’t sure, the simple test is whether it takes your mind off of God, and how would you feel if He came back the moment you said that word, or thought that thought, or were engaged in that deed? If you don’t like His presence in that moment, you can bet it is a sin… and it will eventually put your soul into a comatose state.
And then what happens if God comes back?
Getting Dressed for..to be served
It is with that thought Jesus tells us to be dressed and ready to serve, because we don’t know when Jesus is come back. But when He does, we will be ready to open the door, and greet Him.
But that is where what Jesus says gets interesting. Seek first Jesus Kingdom, put it above everything else, for Jesus is coming back. We get that, and if we dare, we might even think about the fact that those who are not ready will be set aside, where they will be judged based on their actions.
But hear again what awaits those who are dressed, and ready to serve.
37 The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat!
This is what is so
amazing about our Lord, and the work He gives us, leads not to being slaves, or
even servants. But valued guests and friends in the kingdom of God. He took up our serving apron, and fixes us a
feast, rewarding us who are his.
Even though there were moments in the night where we struggled to get our work done, moments where sin had lulled us to asleep, or the stresses and anxieties of life overburdened us.
In His joy, for at Christ’s return the Father and His greatest desire is fulfilled, for we have been transformed, our hearts and minds by the Holy Spirit. That is what repentance truly is and being repentant, being transformed we are alert, and care about His coming in the first place. Not from fear, but looking forward to it with great expectation!
Until then, in the midst of the night, the Holy Spirit helps us realize the peace of God, which passes all understanding… as Jesus protects our hearts and minds. AMEN!