“Preparation: The Name of the Game”
Rev. Mark Vickers
August 7, 2016
Luke 12:32-40: 32 Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.33 “Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. 34 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
35 “[a]Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. 36 Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. 37 Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes; truly I say to you, that he will gird himself to serve, and have them recline at the table, and will come up and wait on them. 38 Whether he comes in the [b]second watch, or even in the [c]third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves. 39 “But [d]be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be [e]broken into. 40 You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not [f]expect.”
Urgent priority should be given to the things of God! Now how about those words? Prophetic? Or just the plain simple truth?
A friend of mine, in a conversation a few weeks ago, asked me this question, “What would happen if we truly left the future up to God?” Now, there are some words to ponder.
We, as pastors especially, spend a great deal of time trying to validate the pastoral office. We program ourselves to death as opposed to being in the Spirit of God. We spend a great deal of time trying to make the church and the world “our” world as opposed to the Kingdom that God has in store for us.
We hear this morning these words, “Do not be afraid little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.” What a great gift!
Often times, as instructed in this text, we seem to get ourselves “worked up” about what the Kingdom is supposed to be like. Usually, we wonder if the Kingdom will be like we want it to be!
A friend of mine often reminds me that when we, even as well-intentioned Christians enter this state of being, we engulf ourselves with too much drama. I’m pretty sure Jesus was not about the drama but more about receiving the gifts of God’s Kingdom. It’s the drama that snatches away the need to be prepared and ready for the Gospel Kingdom. We have to hear and absorb those words.
The wonderful part of this text this morning is that it is what I call a “proper preparation text.” It is a scripture that readies us to hear and receive what God has in store for us. You see, when Jesus addresses the “flock,” he tells them immediately, “Do not be afraid!” Be calm, ready yourself in both your mind and your heart because you are about to receive something so great it will blow your mind. Jesus reminds us in v. 35, “Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit; be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks.” A gracious and giving spirit present even in the lowliest of menial duties.
A friend of mine calls this text “the minuteman text,” because the focus is all about “being ready, being prepared for the coming of the kingdom.” Jesus was all about the need to make sure the disciples and followers (that would be us) are ready to meet the one who is ushering in the Kingdom.
How ready and prepared are we? How have we prepared ourselves for the coming Kingdom? Are we dressed and do we have our lamps lit? Are we ready to open the door and greet the master? Because what happens when we open the door and are prepared? According to Luke, the Master will sit down with us and reside in our presence! You know, I think back to this story and can you imagine the poor slave who was running back and forth to the door and waiting on the master to knock. What an awesome job! One commentator put it this way as he discussed the job of the door keeper. He said, there is a huge difference between being “The” lookout and being “On” the lookout. Which one are we? Are we prepared to be only the keeper of the door and be “the” lookout? or are we prepared and preparing to be “On” the lookout for the Master?
My friends, we come as those with ready and willing hearts, hearts that are striving to be prepared for the Kingdom that God has promised will enter our lives. Urgency is a matter of the heart, mind, and soul and it is a matter of the Gospel. What we must keep in mind is that we cannot live in the fear of the coming Kingdom, we cannot live in the fear of the unknown, we have to be prepared as those who are “On the lookout for the Master”!
I invite you to come to the Table of Our Lord and continue your preparation to be on the lookout as faithful and loving servants in waiting for the Master.
AMEN & AMEN.