Tuesday, July 26, 2011

be alert

I was reading in the Gospels yesterday and Jesus was talking about how He would come back at an unknown hour.  He uses numerous parables for examples (homeowner and the thief, the bridesmaids and the lamps, etc.) to show how no one could ever know when the time will come.  He goes on and on about how it will be when you least expect it and no one knows the hour.  Then, He tells us to be alert and always ready.  But, how is one to be ready for something when they have no idea when will occur?  How can you be prepared, but not expecting the event?  To throw a further twist in the story, Jesus also tells us that there will be signs to show when He is coming back (the moon and sun will become darkened and the stars will fall).  So there will be signs, but you won't know when it's coming, but you should always be ready for it?  Confused, I am.


  1. I was thinking the same thing... I was hoping you were going to give the answer at the end :)

    Here are a few thoughts I had on it:
    1. Not everything in a parable has meaning.
    2. The servant who was suprised by when his master came back was one who was not alert and was infact evil (Luke 12:45-46).
    3. However Matthew 24:44 says even those alert will be surprised by the hour but they will be ready. It would seem that the signs aren't blatant to everyone (Matt 24:37-39) so you have to be alert to understand them. When you do, you still wont know the exact day or hour and exact timing may suprise you but you will know it is coming. When he describes knowing it is near from the signs he says "you know summer is near" (Matt 24:32). It is the general sense that a season is coming.

    So I guess be alert so you can know the season, which will help you be more ready in the end when the day comes. But everyone will be surprised by the end. It sounds hard to do. It takes a lot of faith to be alert like that.

  2. It seems paradoxical to try and be alert and ready for something about which someone says "Get ready for this, but you'll never be ready for this."

  3. I very recently read this too and had the thought of we are not supposed to be ready because he is coming back, but because we want to honor and love God. I don't believe that the goal is to "be ready." Like the referenced parable talks about, He wants to come home to his servants doing the work he sent them out to do. I believe the being ready deals with knowing that our time is limited in doing the work. There is no physical finish line stating you have won every soul that is supposed to be won and now you're done. I do believe that since Jesus died to save everyone then we should be inviting as many guest as possible to join the wedding feast since it is now an open invitation. I think more about the fig tree that was encountered around the same time that bore no fruit. Although it wasn't the season for figs Jesus still had the expectation that the tree should have fruit. Be ready in and out of season. The tree's job was to bring forth figs. Our job is to help make disciples. Revival time and the end times are not the only times when this should be urgent. I am glad that he gave some sort of warning of the things to come. I hope that we don't get distracted by keeping time but use all the time we have left. Make the most of every opportunity!

  4. I think he is saying "Get ready for this, because you wont know exactly when I'll be coming." I think you can be ready but you will still be surprised. Being ready isn't really about knowing when something will happen; it is about completing what you needed to have done before something happens so that you are sufficiently prepared to deal with the situation quickly when occurs.

    It is like waiting for a baby to come ;) You pack your hospital bags, get the nursery ready, and go to classes on how to take care of a baby. By paying attention to signs you have a general idea of when he is showing up but you could be off a few weeks. But you are still surprised when you get woken up at 1 in the morning and have to go to the hospital and its a week after you thought he would come. But you are ready, you grab your bag and go. When he shows up you take care of him because you know how.

    Or its probably more like a pop quiz. You know you have one once a week if you read the syllabus but you don't know when. All you know is that you are studying for it after each class so that you will be ready to ace it when it comes.

  5. So I guess there are two types of ready. There is the...

    1. I saw the mugger in the dark alley hiding, so when he jumped out and yelled I didn't jump and wasn't surprised because I knew he was there. (and then I got mugged)

    2. I carry a .50 Cal Dessert Eagle. A mugger jumped out of a dark alley and I jumped in surprise because I didn't see him there, but then I quickly busted a cap in his face.

    ...and I think Jesus wants you to be the second kind of ready, but is saying we won't be the first.