“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” (Mark 13:32-37)
Is there anything more vertical than the Second Coming of Christ? It’s the point where everything changes on planet earth. The sky will be rolled back like a scroll that has hidden reality from our eyes and the Son of Man will appear in the heavenlies. It will no longer be the actions of men that matter, but the work of God. Nations and rulers will become irrelevant as the King of Kings ascends His throne.
Jesus discourages speculation regarding timing as He declares that no one knows about that day or hour. But even more strongly, He discourages ignoring it. As a matter of fact, He clearly commands us to be actively involved in watching for His coming. It’s a vertical command, inserted into the horizontal of everyday life.
The Lord uses a simple illustration of a man going away on a trip who leaves his servants in charge of his house. They have tasks to do, but over all of those tasks is the command to be watching for his return. This period of watchful waiting is a time to finish the tasks given, but especially a time for paying attention to their Master’s possible return.
The old adage attributed to Thomas Jefferson: “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today” is very powerful for believers. There are many times we have regretted putting off opportunities to reach into the lives of others because we thought we were too busy, or too tired . . . or because we just disobeyed the promptings of God. There are people who need to hear about Jesus, or kind acts or words that could be said or done now, that we may forget about tomorrow if we procrastinate. Opportunities to bring glory to God could be missed or lost if we are lazy about attending to the urging of the Holy Spirit.
Are you praying for the Lord’s return? It’s one of the best ways we know to keep watch. The prayer of the early Church was, “Come soon, Lord Jesus!” Daily prayer for the coming of Jesus will keep you on your watch and encourage you to finish the tasks He has given you to do.
Come soon, Lord Jesus! That’s my prayer today. Forgive me for getting so caught up in worldly matters that my heart fails to thrill at the thought of You coming in glory. Help me to continue to watch and pray.
–Adapted from Vertical with Jesus: A 30-Day Journey to Impact Kingdom Living by David and Kim Butts. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God for his non-condemning attitude (Jn. 8:10-11), which gives you hope when you fail. Give thanks for help in seeing the “plank” in your own eyes before looking at the “specks” in another’s (Mt. 7:3). Confess the many times you judge by appearance rather than by facts (Jn. 7:24). Commit yourself to God’s judgment (1 Cor. 11:32), and be disciplined by him, learning from your mistakes (Heb. 12:10-11). Ask God to help you learn from other’s judgments of you.
Pray that your loving and nonjudgmental attitude toward one who has wronged you will give you opportunity to present Christ to that person, realizing God will bring every deed into judgment (Eccl. 12:14).
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