“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
Get Ready, by Randall D. Kittle

“Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. … Therefore you also be ready …”— Luke 12:37–40

I had a difficult time preparing this article. Honestly, I think I found the title, “Get Ready,” a little intimidating. Most likely that is because while growing up as the youngest child in a fairly strict home it was the instruction I received daily … sometimes numerous times a day: “Randy, get ready for school. Randy, come inside and get ready for your piano lesson. Randy, make sure you’re ready for baseball practice. Randy, you’d better get ready for church.” If you hear that enough, you begin to resent the instruction to, “Get ready.”

But, as believers, we dare not be resentful of others calling us to be ready, for if we turn to Luke 12:40, we will find Jesus, our Lord, telling us to
“be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.” This is not only a clear and straightforward command; it is a very important message. The instruction to “be ready” is important because very few of us are truly ready to serve the Lord … let alone meet Him. Many of us are too busy accumulating worldly possessions, or busy doing something else, or perhaps even busy doing everything — that is, everything but what the Lord requires of us.

Our passage in Luke waits until verse 40 to tell us the reason why we are to be ready:
“be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.” Clearly, this is a reference to the second coming of Christ. The first advent of our Lord was a mission of grace but, according to Scripture, Jesus’ second coming is a mission of judgment. It will be a time to separate the wheat from the tares (Matthew 13:40), and a time to test each person’s works by fire (1 Corinthians 3:13–15). It is this we are to get ready for before the Lord’s coming.

Earlier in this chapter the Lord told a parable about a man who stored up possessions for himself only to have God say to him, “You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?” (Luke 12:19–20). We need to examine whether we are foolishly preparing pleasures for ourselves or making ready for meeting the Lord. You see, regardless of whether we live to witness the second coming of Christ, all of us will witness a type of His coming when we die. And so the question remains, “Are you ready for Christ’s coming?” If Jesus came today, would you be satisfied with what you have done for Him, how you have lived for Him, and your relationship with Him? Or would you regret that most of your efforts were spent upon your earthly affairs?

Dressed for Action
How well are we living out our commitment to Christ? Jesus tells us, in verse 35, to “be dressed in readiness” (or, as another translation puts it, “dressed for action”) and to “have our lamps lit.” What does that verse mean … dressed for action? Too many seem to think the command is to be dressed for church! We thought the Bible commanded us to wear expensive clothes on Sunday, when in reality, the command from Scripture is to “be dressed for action” … to be dressed for kingdom work.

The command to “be dressed for action” cuts to the very heart of the matter here. The Christian life is not a life of passive and smug indifference to the rest of the world. The Christian life is a life where action is paramount and where, in a world of darkness, we are called to be beacons of light.

“action” does not stop after an hour of sitting in church on Sunday morning, or even preaching the message. The type of action the Lord calls us to is needed everyday. Every day of our lives is a gift from God to be used wisely for His glory. Why would we choose to live this way? Why would we choose to prioritize kingdom “action” over worldly advance? The answer is simple: We dress ourselves for kingdom work because it is the work that brings us the most joy and the most lasting rewards.

Jesus likens those who are
“dressed for action” with “men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. And if he should come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants” (verses 36–38).

I hope most of you find your work extremely fulfilling. But I want you to know that nothing is more fulfilling and joy producing than “kingdom work.” Now as I say that, I don’t want you to think you have to quit your job and go to seminary or become a missionary to find true fulfillment. The challenge I have for you this day is for you to transform your worldly efforts into kingdom work. Even in our self-focused, politically correct society, I want to challenge you today to find ways to turn everything you do into kingdom work. Jesus is coming again. Your work will be tested, but only the work you do for His kingdom will survive the refining fire.

Blessed by the Lord
Transforming everyday, ordinary activities into kingdom work is what glorifies God. And when God is glorified our joy is made full. We see this happen in the parable — the slave honors his master by waiting up for him and greeting him. Then we read, “Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching” (verse 37a). The Greek word, translated “blessed,” literally means “happy.” “Happy is the servant whom the master finds watching when he comes.” Happy is the one who is ready to work for God.

I want you to notice, however, that the servant gains more than happiness here. He gets more than just a warm, fuzzy feeling from knowing he has done well.
He gets rewarded! When the master returns to his awaiting servants, we read that the master will “… have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them” (verse 37b)!

The servants were ready for action, but what happens? The master serves them! History shows no precedent for this kind of treatment in first century Israel. At best, servants would be rewarded by being invited to sit and eat
with their master. But to have the master serve them is a truly exceptional promise. Yet, this is what Jesus promises to the Christian who is “dressed for action.” This promise, though grand and beyond worldly ways, certainly aligns with God’s character. Remember the words of our Lord in Mark 10:45: “The Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.”

Jesus our Master promises to serve us — according to His will — but He serves us nonetheless. What a great arrangement we have here! We participate in kingdom work and Christ promises to serve us. You may wonder whether you have the time, strength, or ability to serve Christ, but remember: you do not serve Christ nor do kingdom work by your own strength. You do kingdom work with the strength He provides.

Like a Thief
Jesus, then, switches gears a little in His parable by saying that, “if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour” (verses 39–40). Jesus is telling us to be alert. Jesus warns us to be prepared because He is coming like a thief. The apostle Paul tells us the exact same thing in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, “you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”

The Bible presents many images of God — God the shepherd, God the waiting Father, God the mother hen who gathers her chicks. But God the thief? Yes, God the thief. If Christ is like a thief, if Christ is coming “at an unexpected hour,” how should we respond? In 1 Thessalonians 5:6, Paul says to us, “let us not fall asleep as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.”

No Time to be Sleeping
“Let us not sleep”?! Does Paul mean this literally? Is he urging us on to spiritual insomnia? No, he isn’t talking here about actual sleep. And though Paul condemns drunkenness elsewhere in the New Testament, he also is not talking here about literal sobriety. Paul is using sleep and drunkenness as metaphors for what happens when people get lazy in their relationship with Christ or too friendly in their relationship with the world.

So what is your current condition? Are you sleeping? Then it is time to wake up. Jesus “the thief” could come at any time. Are you intoxicated by worldly pleasures and pursuits? Then put down the bottle and sober up. Jesus the thief could come at any time. Has pursuing the things of this world — success, fame, or material possessions — caused you to be wide awake to the world but asleep to the things of God? If so, then it is time to wake up for the Lord’s return is closer than ever before.

Now let’s be optimistic — maybe you are not in a spiritual slumber nor intoxicated by worldly pursuits. Then the question for you is, “Are you dressed for action?” Are you ready to serve the Lord with your lamp lit and your light shining wherever you might be needed?

We are the body of Christ. As the body of Christ, we are not meant to sleep. There is plenty of kingdom work to be done — on this earth, in our community, and in the Church. As the body of Christ, we are not to be polluted with the things of this world, but wide awake to the things of God and dressed for action.

Friends, it is time to be awakened and dressed for action. Jesus the thief could come at anytime ... let’s get ready!

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