1 Thessalonians 5:2 – For you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. (NIV)
There are rules for living in the city, just as there are rules for living in the country. For instance, city dwellers keep their doors locked. When we moved from the city to a farm where our nearest neighbour was a ten-minute walk from us, we relaxed our guard.
One evening as we ate supper, our family was shocked when a complete stranger opened the back door and walked in. He didn't knock. He said that his vehicle had become overheated down the road. He had walked back to the nearest house, ours, to obtain a bucket of water.
We were glad to provide — after we had recovered from our frozen, deer-caught-in-the-headlights stare. Perhaps we were naive, but because he didn't apologize, we assumed that he was acting in a normal "country" way and was accustomed to folks leaving their doors unlocked. But because our cars were locked in the shed, he could not have known that anyone was home. Had we not been there, would he have helped himself to water — and nothing else?
We had become lax in our watchfulness around the house. We knew that farmers left their vehicles unlocked as well, sometimes with keys in the ignition. We thought this to be an unsafe practice, and we continued to abide by city rules regarding our vehicles.
Some years later, we moved just outside town. One morning, neighbours asked if our car had been broken into during the night. It had not. But several items were missing from their own vehicles, which had been left unlocked. The owners had not expected a thief, and they were not ready.
Just as we lock our doors against theft, most take precautions to be ready for all kinds of unexpected situations. But are we ready to meet Jesus?
Luke 12:39-40 – If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. (NIV)
Just as we never know when there could be an emergency or when a thief might come, so the Bible tells us that we cannot know exactly when Jesus will return. It will be a surprise, but one for which we should be prepared. We cannot use as an excuse that we were not ready, for then it will be too late. Our decisions affect our future. Let us be careful to be ready, then, because we are warned that Jesus will come suddenly and unexpectedly.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, help us to remember that You are our Master. You are Lord of all creation, and we are accountable to You. May Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Help us to be ready and looking for Your return. Amen.
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