“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[f] but only the Father. As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
– Matthew 24:36-44
“A Christian worker’s greatest need is a readiness to face Jesus Christ at any time and every turn. This is not easy, no matter what our experience has been. This battle is not against sin, difficulties, or circumstances, but against being so absorbed in our service to Jesus Christ that we are not ready to face Jesus Himself at every turn. The greatest need is not facing our beliefs or doctrines, or even facing the question of whether or not we are of any use to Him, but the need to face Him.
“Jesus rarely comes where we expect Him; He appears where we least expect Him, and always in the most illogical situations. The only way that a servant can remain true to God is to be ready for the Lord’s surprise visits. This readiness will not be brought about by service, but through intense spiritual reality, expecting Jesus at every turn. This sense of expectation will give our life the attitude of childlike wonder He wants it to have. If we are going to be ready for Jesus Christ, we have to stop being religious. In other words, we must stop using religion as if it were some kind of a lofty lifestyle – we must be spiritually real.
“If you are avoiding the call of the religious thinking of today’s world, and instead are ‘looking unto Jesus’ (Hebrews 12:2), setting your heart on what He wants, and thinking His thoughts, you will be considered impractical and a daydreamer. But when He suddenly appears in the work of the heat of the day, you will be the only one who is ready. You should trust no one, and even ignore the finest saint on earth, if he blocks your sight of Jesus Christ.”
– Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest
We just had both of our sons bring their families to our tiny house during Spring Break. Of course, it snowed. When each arrived, one on Saturday and the next on Monday, we were expecting them. They said they would come. They showed up when they said they would be here. We weren’t ready for them, but that didn’t stop us from taking breaks while cleaning to look out the window.
This nightly dose of Chambers was refreshing. If you are in the business of serving, Chambers is not saying to stop serving. He is saying to expect Jesus around every turn. Once our frame of mind has gone from the duties of this world to the Joy of the next (from the day-to-day necessities to the spiritual necessities), we will want to help others up, so they can join us. We shouldn’t expect many to follow. Chambers is right about the ‘daydreamer’ epithets.
I think a few things stand out to me in the Chambers devotion. First that many today are so absorbed by their service that they have forgotten the prize. Some may have never understood the prize. They just do in order to do, but others went into it to glorify Jesus and they either wanted credit for their hard work or they became exhausted, stuck in the ‘work because no one else will’ mode.
Then, the spiritual aspect appears in the second paragraph. He mentions a childlike wonder. But then he says that we must not be religious. There have been several posts by others recently about doing traditional things for the sake of tradition, whether they were Biblical or not. Maybe some of the traditions stem from Lenten traditions. On the other hand, if you ask a group of people if they are Christians, many people will answer that they are members at ____. This may be to differentiate them from those who are not members of any church who say that they are Christians, but it gets into the realm of being proud of the church, the form of worship, the denomination, etc. without having a relationship with Jesus. As Chambers concludes that paragraph, “we must be spiritually real.”
Chambers finishes by painting the picture of the daydreamer, but I’d like to look at the Scripture above. Of the two men in the field, which will be taken up to be with Jesus, the nose-to-the-grindstone guy or the daydreamer? Of the two women at the mill, which will be taken up, the impractical one or the practical one? Each man was serving in the field. Each woman was serving at the mill. But those that were ready were those that Jesus drew up.
Also, Jesus speaks of a thief in the night as a metaphor here. He explains that if you knew the thief was coming, you would do something about it. In other references to end times (1 Thessalonians, 2 Peter, and Revelation), it simply mentions that Jesus will return like a thief. Without reading the context of what Jesus had said, people sometimes dislike the metaphor. Jesus is coming for Judgment; the thief comes to steal. But the quote above is only referring to the preparedness of the listener; the focus is not on Jesus in the reference.
We need to be prepared.
We just celebrated Easter yesterday. That means that Jesus is alive, and we acknowledge His resurrection. Are we spiritually real? Do you anticipate Him coming like we anticipate relatives who say they are coming?
Are we going to simply get back to the humdrum existence of this world, or will be expect Jesus to walk around the corner? Look! He may be there right now. Is your faith that real?