This morning, as I read Matthew 25, I recalled a funny story about this chapter when I was a child. I had a misunderstanding of what this verse meant:
“‘So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return….'”
Matthew 25:13 NLT
If you read the story of the ten virgins just before this, then you know Jesus refers to us as the those virgins and himself as the bridegroom. He’s coming back for us, but will we be one of those accepted or one left outside? And then verse 13,”keep watch.”
So, as a child, I thought this meant that if I wasn’t looking up at the sky when Jesus returns, then I would miss the rapture and be left behind for the horrible tribulation, so every time I was outdoors, I tried to force myself to look up at the clouds waiting to see Jesus because I didn’t want to miss him, and I certainly did not want him to miss me. This went on for a few weeks, and then, one day, my dad questioned, “Why do you keep squinting up at the bright sky? What are you looking for?”
“I’m looking for Jesus; I don’t want him to skip me. Remember it says he’s only coming back for people who are watching for him and ready?”
My dad chuckled, and then he shared something that I had never thought about before. He talked about how much he loved my mama. He shared about how they met, got married, and how they were so excited to have each one of us. He looked at me and asked, “Do you think I’d ever leave any of you or Mama behind if I chose to move somewhere else?”
My nose scrunched. “That’s crazy. No, you’d never leave us behind. You love us.”
“How do you know?”
“Because you spend time with us and buy us stuff. You take care of us, and you’re a good daddy, and you just love us. Even when I mess up, you still love me.”
Dad’s warm smile let me know some how I was headed in the right direction. “Because I spend time with you, but you also spend time with me.” He tousled my fluffy blond bangs. “You know how you sometimes crawl up in my lap and tell me about your day?”
My tow head nodded.
“Those are my favorite moments we share; because those are the moments you stop playing and being distracted by a thousand things, and you allow me into your heart, your life, and your day.”
Daddy cupped my chin in his hand. “Those are His favorite moments too. He’s a good daddy, and Jesus is coming back for those who take the time to stop being distracted by a thousand things and spend those moments with him too.”
Yesterday, my son Rice was listening to the Bible app read a chapter from the book of Luke, and inadvertently, as I was hanging the clothes in the closet, I started quoting it along with the robotic voice. Suddenly, I realized the reading had stopped, and my eyes caught sight of my son standing at the closet door with his hands on his hips and mouth agape.
My eyebrows furrowed. “What’s the matter?”
“Do you know the whole Bible by heart?”
I chuckled. “No, but I’d like to.”
“How did you do that?”
I smiled. “I just love the Bible, and I want to absorb as much as I can. It’s how I find strength and fight my battles.”
His eyes popped wide. “Is that what you’re doing in the mornings? Growing super powers? Can you do some cool ninja moves too that I don’t know about?”
Thinking of my mommy muscles, I doubled over laughing, and when I finally composed myself, I went on to explain. “What I do in the mornings is spend time with God…making memories. I just memorize the Bible because I want to know more about Him, so I read my Bible over and over again, and it just sticks. I’m just so in love with God…like I am with you kiddo.” I tousled his crazy hair, just like my daddy had done to me all those years ago.
He giggled and pulled away.
“I have NO super powers…no power at all actually, but the Word of God is alive and active, and IT is what is sharper than any two edged sword, and THAT is why I hide it in my heart. It’s my love letter from God to remind me how much He loves me, but it’s also my battle plan against the enemy.”
Jesus is coming back for those who are building a relationship with him now, and who are ANTICIPATING and EXCITED about his return…like the child of a solider who has been away at war. He is anticipating his daddy’s return to him.
Jesus is coming soon. Are we ready? Are we watching for him? Are we anticipating him? Are we ready?
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. And you know the way to where I am going.”
John 14:1-4 NLT