“Be prepared for action at a moment’s notice. Be like the servants who anticipate their master’s return from a wedding celebration. They are ready to unlock and open the door for him at a moment’s notice. What great joy is ahead for the awakened ones who are waiting for the Master’s return!… He may appear at midnight or even later, but what great joy for the awakened ones whenever he comes! Of course, if they knew ahead of time the hour of the master’s appearing, they would be alert…So, keep being alert and ready at all times. For I can promise you that the Son of Man will surprise you and will appear when you don’t expect him.” Luke 12:35-40 (TPT)
“READY OR NOT, HERE I COME!”
Remember that phrase from the childhood game of hide and seek? Remember how you felt when you hadn’t found the perfect spot yet, but the seeker had finished counting and was yelling it out? Ready or not! Oh, the mad dash that followed! Hide and seek was my favorite! I loved the challenge of finding the perfect hiding place.
Today, though, it’s not a game of hide and seek that presents the “ready or not” challenge I want to talk about. Today, it is Jesus calling to each of us, “Ready or not, I am coming!” Oh, I don’t mean the second coming will be today! Obviously, I don’t know when that day will be! But, I do believe it is very likely that Jesus will appear to each of us before then, and though this passage is often quoted in messages about the second coming of Jesus, I want us to look at it a little differently.
Verse 35 begins with the admonition to, “Be prepared for action at a moment’s notice.” The Amplified Bible says it this way: “Be dressed and ready for active service and keep your lamps continuously burning.” Don’t you find that a little odd in a passage about the second coming of Jesus? Afterall, when He does return, it will be too late to act. That’s why I think this could also be referring to a different “coming of Jesus.”
It says He will appear when we least expect it… I believe that means today! In Matthew 25, Jesus tells us that on Judgment Day He will say to His faithful ones:
“’Come…inherit the kingdom prepared for you … For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying: ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry…, thirsty…, a stranger…, naked…, sick… or in prison…?’ And He will answer them, ‘I tell you the truth, just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.’”
It sounds like the righteous in these verses were taken by surprise when Jesus said they had served Him! It’s easy to see how we might also be taken by surprise and miss His coming if we aren’t expecting Him to come today in the form of the homeless man on the corner, the sick lady down the street, the visitor at church, the convicted criminal behind bars, or the “thirsty” girl whose insta stories are desperate cries for attention and love.
He knows how easily we get all wrapped up in our own daily lives and forget to live with awareness of the lost and hurting around us and what they are facing. But Jesus is asking us to “keep our lamps burning”, so that He can shine His light through us to draw people, even “the least of these”, to Himself. He doesn’t want us to be taken by surprise, so He’s reminding us to be aware and be ready for action, to practically serve their needs when “HE” comes. He’s calling to us: “Ready or not, here I come!” I don’t want to be taken by surprise, but rather be aware of the opportunity to fulfill my purpose and make an impact for eternity. I want to be ready! How about you?
Father God, I ask you to help each person reading this to recognize You in the people that will cross their paths today and give them practical ways that they can prepare so that they will always be ready to serve You. Amen!