So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. [Matthew 24:42-44 (NLT)]
He will come again to judge the living and the dead. [The Apostles’ Creed]
In an attempt to avoid the day’s heat, I went walking immediately after breakfast, leaving the bed unmade and the dishes on the counter. Thinking I would tend to the bedroom and kitchen later in the day, I cleaned the lanai when I returned home. Just as I was finishing up, the gate house called: I had unexpected guests! One of my visitors is a “neatnik” and nothing about me or the house (except for the lanai) was neat or clean. In the few minutes between the gate’s call and their arrival, I managed to pull up the bedspread, throw the dishes in the sink, wipe the counter, slip on a fresh t-shirt, put on lipstick and don a baseball cap. I was thankful for the advance call that gave me just enough time to make things semi-presentable.
At least I had a few minutes warning to straighten up; we won’t get that much time when it really matters! The day of Christ’s second coming will be sudden and unexpected, with no cautionary alarms. While there will be signs, many people won’t understand them and most won’t heed them. There will be no call from the gatehouse asking if we want to give Him entry! We’ve been amply forewarned in Scripture; let’s not plan on an extra five minutes to clean up our act!
Putting aside the question of Judgment Day, how prepared are we for our own last day here on earth? Some of us may linger under Hospice care and be painfully aware of death’s imminence, but many will get little or no warning. Tornadoes hit, aneurysms burst, cars run red lights, and a heart attack can turn a wife into a widow within minutes. Even those with health issues often ignore the inevitability of death and many seniors act as if they’re immortal. They have no wills, powers of attorney, or advance healthcare directives and refuse to discuss funeral plans or decide which grand might like a special piece of jewelry. “There’s time enough for that later,” they say. The clock is ticking; how much warning do any of us need?
There are, however, far more important decisions than what songs will be sung at our funeral or who will get our things—decisions that need to be made now. Are we followers of Christ or not? When our final day comes, we won’t get an opportunity to discuss the options or make things right. When that last day arrives, there may be no warning: no opportunity for frenzied prayers and last minute repentance. We shouldn’t wait until the eleventh hour to choose God; after all, we could die at 10:30!
One of two things you must do; you must either receive Him or reject Him. You receive Him here and He will receive you there; you reject Him here and He will reject you there. [D.L. Moody]