Satan once called to him some demons of hell and said he wanted to send one of them to earth to aid women and men in the ruination of their souls. He asked which one would want to go. One creature came forward and said, "I will go." Satan said, "If I send you, what will you tell the children of men?" He said, "I will tell the children of men that there is no heaven." Satan said, "They will not believe you, for there is a bit of heaven in every human heart. In the end everyone knows that right and good must have the victory. You may not go." Then another came forward, darker and fouler than the first. Satan said, "If I send you, what will you tell the children of men?" He said, "I will tell them there is no hell." Satan looked at him and said, "Oh, no; they will not believe you, for in every human heart there's a thing called conscience, an inner voice which testifies to the truth that not only will good be triumphant, but that evil will be defeated. You may not go." Then one last creature came forward, this one from the darkest place of all. Satan said to him, "And if I send you, what will you say to women and men to aid them in the destruction of their souls?" He said, "I will tell them there is no hurry." Satan said, "Go!"
Most people’s crime in not gross sin, but just indifference without much thought to a coming judgment. After all, why do today what we can put off till tomorrow? We need to be deeply concerned for the Day of the Lord which may come sooner than we think. The question for us is not “when will Christ return?” because no one knows the answer to that question (Matthew 24:36). Rather, the question for us is: “are you ready for Christ’s return?” We are to remain constantly vigilant. We are to live every moment of our lives in light of the promise of Christ’s coming. We are to be faithful because we don’t know the day or hour it will occur.
We are to be faithful and busy, like Noah, building the ark of the church instead of being just like the world and indulging in our lives as if Jesus weren’t coming, nor wasting our time trying to connect current events to signs in scripture as if making prophecy charts is God’s will for us. We are to be faithful by being servants in God’s household (Matthew 24:45-51). We are not to be like the unfaithful teenager who, when given the responsibility of watching over the house while the parents are gone for the weekend, has a big party and trashes the house. But the parents will come home at a time when the teenager does not expect, and then there will certainly be weeping and gnashing of teeth!
The faithful and wise steward should be busy doing the master’s business – the often mundane work of taking care of the master’s house. Are we being faithful to our household responsibilities? How are we caring for the people in our lives? Preparing for Christ’s return leads to down-to-earth acts of love and care, and not just sitting around and waiting passively.
As we wait for the Lord’s return we are not to become impatient and simply get caught up in our petty day to day problems to the point of losing sight of what is really important. One day a man named Denis Waitley was trying to catch a flight but was running late so he literally ran through the airport terminal. He got to the gate the split second the gate agent closed the door. Denis explained his situation that he had a speaking engagement to get to, but the agent didn’t budge. That’s when his frustration turned into fuming. Denis stormed out of the boarding area and back to the ticket counter to register a complaint and reschedule his flight. The anger intensified as he waited for more than twenty minutes in a line that barely moved. Just before he got to the counter an announcement over the intercom changed his life. The flight he missed, flight 191 from Chicago to Los Angeles, crashed on takeoff and killed every person on board the plane. Denis Waitley never registered his complaint. In fact, he never returned his invalidated ticket. He took it home and pinned it on a bulletin board in his office to remind him whenever he got frustrated or upset that life is more than day to day impatience and worry and complaints. It is about serving a lost world destined to slide away from God apart from the grace that can turn judgment into blessing.
We are to keep watch because the Lord’s return could be today. In the meantime, we are to be faithful servants of God by serving a world that is in tremendous need of getting on the ark and being saved from the judgment that will come. What does God want you to do? How does he want you to be a faithful servant in his world? The best way to overcome our own chronic unhappiness and struggles is to serve the world and be the servant God’s wants us to be.
So, live with the end in mind. Live without regret and without procrastinating. Jesus himself has said, “Yes, I am coming soon” (Revelation 22:20). Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.