"Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves. But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into. You, too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect." (Luke 12: 35-40 NASB)
This passage has so many layers that it may take some time to work our way through it. The first point to note is that we are to be ever vigilant, always ready. Jesus makes it clear that we are to wait as servants prepared for our master. When the master is expected, the servants don't go to bed to wait at their leisure for his call. Instead, they stand, dressed and ready, in order to serve as soon as the master appears.
We, too, as bondservants of Christ, are to remain completely ready for His return. There are two returns for which we wait. The first is that time when our Lord will call us to our eternal reward at our death. If we have remained faithful, we will enter heaven with joy and hear those beautiful words, "Well done, good and faithful servant." The other return for which we are waiting is His Second Coming. (more later on this)
A critical part of remaining faithful to our Lord is waiting well. A servant who is dressed in readiness with his lamps lit is one who is still actively serving. "I did my part when my kids were little," will not be an adequate excuse for choosing not to serve Him in later years. God has places of service for each of us, and He expects us to serve, no matter our age.
A servant who is dressed in readiness with his lamps lit is one who is actively serving his master. "I'm too busy with my children and my family," will also not be an adequate excuse for choosing not to serve our Lord. Our children and family must have a high priority, but we are to set an example of service for our children to model.
The Proverbs 31 woman is an excellent example of service. "She extends her hand to the poor, and she stretches out her hand to the needy." (Proverbs 31:20 NASB) In the midst of caring for her family, she finds ways to care for those in need, as well.
If my focus is only on my family, my children, my priorities, I'm missing the point. As a servant of Christ, I am called to serve Him in the world around me. My life is about more than me and mine. Loving my neighbor as myself requires that I am active in loving my neighbor.
Our lives are short. Our days are numbered. None of us know when our own death will come. Though I expect to live for several more decades, those expected years are not promised to me. I must live as if today were to be my last.
At every moment, I am one breath away from eternity, one step from meeting my Lord Jesus face to face. Whether He gives me more breaths, more steps on this earth or not, I need to live as if each were my last. I need to live as if the action, the thought, the words spoken, will be the ones with which I greet Him as I step into heaven.
The promise of eternity infuses every moment of my life with hope and with accountability. Jesus sees it all. One day, we will be held to account for how we chose to live this life. Let's be sure we live it as faithful servants, dressed and ready, serving every moment until we see Him face to face.
Heavenly Father, forgive me for the way I have used my time, my resources, my talents, to serve myself more than You. Help me to live my days in such a way that I will be a faithful ready servant for You. In Jesus' name. Amen