As Christians, I think we are all aware in varying degrees of the constant tension of living between the “now” and the “not yet”. We were perhaps reminded of that as we approached the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, and as we remembered and celebrated the first coming of Christ and looked forward to his second coming. 2015 was certainly an eventful and challenging year for many, and likely we all have tremendous hopes and expectations for what 2016 might bring. The question is, how do we prepare ourselves for what the future might have in store?
I think at times I am an expert at procrastination. It is very easy to have an attitude of “Oh, it’s ok – it can always wait until another day.” Then when another day comes it’s all too easy to find another excuse to put something off.
In Luke Chapter 12, from verse 35 the passage speaks about watchfulness…“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.” This places a responsibility on all of us. We are called to be alert, to be ready for action, to have our lamps lit. We are called to be faithful and prudent. If we are ready, we will find on the master’s return that we will be served servants rather than being serving servants – we will have a share from the feast of the wedding banquet.
This passage speaks against the risk of complacency. Are we prepared? Are we ready? Have we been good stewards of our master’s household? Have we made effective use of our time and talents in serving Him and those around us? We need to learn to be “tomorrow people”, ready for our Lord’s return.
How do we keep our lamps lit? By being clothed in Christ, making sure we have a plentiful supply of oil for the lamp, and that comes by seeking to know God’s will, and by growing in our knowledge of Jesus Christ. That comes from lining our life with God’s word, and by being faithful in prayer. We have, if you like, been blessed with a spiritual muscle…the question is, do we use it?
The season of Lent began on Ash Wednesday (February 10th). It is a great time for us to engage in reflection and self-examination and to get our spiritual house in order. Engaging with the season can help us avoid putting things off, prepare us for the celebration of Easter, and equip us in keeping our lamp of faith burning brightly. One thing that I do in Lent is prayerfully meditate and reflect on Psalm 51. I invite you to join me in this discipline this Lent and encourage you to discuss the passage with your brothers and sisters in Christ.