Jesus said to his disciples: “Stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come. Be sure of this: if the master of the house had known the hour of night when the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and not let his house be broken into. So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come. Who, then, is the faithful and prudent servant, whom the master has put in charge of his household to distribute to them their food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master on his arrival finds doing so. Amen, I say to you, he will put him in charge of all his property. But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is long delayed,’ and begins to beat his fellow servants, and eat and drink with drunkards, the servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” (Matthew 24:42-51)
Another scripture passage that contains strong language and imagery. To underscore His words Jesus often engaged in hyperbole, such as, “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away” (Matthew 5:30). Potent counsel demands potent language.
Today’s scripture reminds us to be faithful and prudent servants so that we are always ready to meet Him when He comes. But that is no easy task and one which is complicated by the evil one. The fact is that evil is always more successful when it approaches us in increments rather than in a dramatic event. It acts much like a pickpocket who silently and in a surreptitious manner steals our valuables. Our adversary the devil seeks to rob us of the treasure which the Lord freely offers us. What is the treasure which the Lord Jesus wants us to guard lest we lose it? It is the treasure of a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus himself – who is our greatest gift and portion in this life.
Jesus tells us that we must be constantly on guard and constantly centered on Him as we live our lives.
We live as authentic Christians when we obey God’s will. When we strive to know the heart and mind of the Master, God can enter into our lives and find his home within. That entails protecting our own mind, heart, and body from the attacks of the enemy of our soul. It requires welcoming the Lord whenever he chooses to reveal himself in the circumstances of our life.
So, for us to understand what the Lord’s work is we need to pay attention like the first two servants. We need to recognize what our Lord is doing so that we can do the same.
Parents need to be attentive to their children, to discern what God has begun in each one of them. If a son or daughter is a compassionate person, then it is the role of the parent to see that that compassion matures and grows. If a child is insightful, then a parent should try to foster wisdom to enlarge the child’s intelligence. If a son or daughter is joyful, then the parent’s work is to teach the child how to spread that joy around. Then when Christ comes, the parent will be able to say to him, “This is what you gave me, and here is how I made it grow.”
We need to be attentive to what God is doing in our own lives, what God has planted in our hearts, what is changing, growing, maturing.
Our calling is not just to do what we think is best but to discern what God is doing so that we can make it grow. That is why we must be attentive to what God is about in our hearts, in our families, and in our world. When we recognize that God’s action is present in this or that situation, then we, like the first two servants in the parable, must begin to move that work along. Then, when Jesus comes, he will say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant. Enter into your master’s joy.”
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, you have captured my heart and it is yours. Take my life and all that I possess that I may have you alone as my treasure and joy. Make me strong in faith, steadfast in hope, and generous in love that I may seek to please you in all things and bring you glory.”
The Lord Jesus calls us to be vigilant in watching for his return and to be ready to meet him when he calls us to himself. The Lord gives us his Holy Spirit so that we may have the wisdom, help, and strength we need to turn away from sin to embrace God’s way of love, justice, and holiness. The Lord’s warning of judgment causes dismay for those who are unprepared, but it brings joyful hope to those who eagerly wait for his return in glory. God’s judgment is good news for those who are ready to meet him. Their reward is God himself, the source of all truth, beauty, goodness, love and everlasting life.