Action Commandments for Every Believer Day 5 – Be Ready for the Lord’s Return
Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. Therefore, you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. (Matthew 24: 42, 44, ESV)
Back in 1993, a musical group named NewSong released a song that has stuck with me since the first time I heard it almost 30 years ago. The song (true story, I believe) is about a class of special needs kids taught by a Mrs. Jones somewhere in Kentucky. Mrs. Jones tells her students about Jesus and the promise of His return. She tells them it’ll happen at any moment, and how we’ll immediately see Him, the golden streets, and the gates of pearl. The children are so excited at the prospect that every time the subject is brought up they rush to the windows to see if He’s coming yet. The song is called “Fingertips and Noses,” and here are the lyrics to the chorus:
“And it’s fingertips and noses
Pressed to the windowpanes,
Longing eyes, expectant hearts
For Him to come again.
All they know is that they love Him so,
And if He said He’d come, He’s coming;
And they can’t keep their windows clean
For fingertips and noses.”
I still get a little misty-eyed when I think about it. What a tremendous sentiment and example of expectation! Jesus could return at any moment! Am I expecting Him, and am I ready for Him? I need to focus on both of those aspects; I need to expect Him to return and, therefore, be ready. After all, as those kids were able to appreciate, Jesus said He’s coming back and that means He absolutely is! But what does it mean, as a Christian, to be ready? If my sins are forgiven, I’m ready for His return and I’ll be taken with Him. But is that all it means to be ready? I don’t think so.
The way Jesus words these two verses makes it very clear that His return will be sudden and somewhat unexpected. There will not be a warning period—“I am returning in one week, so get your affairs straight!” Instead, the warning for us now is from almost 2,000 years ago, and we are to live every day as if Jesus could return at any moment. I may have said this in other articles before, but I’ll say it again: The moment Jesus returns and we are taken to be with Him forever, our lives on earth will be over. It’s a bit sobering to think about. We will have no more opportunity to apologize to people we have wronged. We will have no more chances to patch things up with family or friends. We’ll no longer be able to share the gospel with friends or neighbors that are not Christians. We won’t be able to “get our spiritual life together” by reading the Bible more, praying more, going to church more, and so on. All the wealth we have accumulated will be gone. No more time to be a better father, husband, friend, or neighbor. In the twinkling of an eye, our time on earth will be done. Ouch. And so, again, am I really ready for His return? Do I live my daily life under the expectation that He could return today? I have to confess that I don’t. If I did, I wouldn’t waste time on relatively meaningless things. I can’t help but think He is going to return in the manner He promised—suddenly—and find me spiritually asleep, playing some stupid game on my phone.
Although I may not always act like I’m fully ready, I am definitely filled with longing for His return and I pray for it daily. I admit it’s probably a tad selfish. But how can I not long for His return? Gone will be the gnawing presence of sin. No more death, sickness, disappointment, depression, anxiety, stress, loneliness, discouragement, pain, sadness, anger, frustration, lust, hatred, or violence. Only joy, bliss, peace, and the presence of Jesus forever. And, again, maybe I’m a tad selfish in my prayer. I’ve experienced plenty in my life—many highs as well as many lows. I’ve been able to experience wedded bliss, becoming a father, being an uncle, buying a house, and many other wonderful things. For some younger people, maybe they want to have the opportunity to experience those events. I get it. But I still won’t stop praying—sorry!