34“The coming of the Son of Man can be illustrated by the story of a man going on a long trip. When he left home, he gave each of his slaves instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. 35You, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know when the master of the household will return—in the evening, at midnight, before dawn, or at daybreak. 36Don’t let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. 37I say to you what I say to everyone: Watch for him!”

Mark 13:34-36

When I was young, Mom would leave the “three little kids” home alone at times. Sometimes it was to get groceries or do farm related tasks such as taking wheat to the feed mill; other times it was for overnights trips out of town for a church meeting. My brother, sister and I liked the independence it offered.

We always had chores to complete before Mom returned. Sometimes we knew the approximate time she would be home and we waited until the last possible moment to complete the assigned tasks. As long as the work was done before Mom got out of the car, it was done on time. At least that is how we saw it.

I suppose we watched for her with one eye while doing as we pleased with our time. We didn’t want to get caught “sleeping,” but neither did we feel compelled to finish the work before we played.

In the passage for today, Jesus is talking to Peter, James, John and Andrew (Mark 13:3-4). They wanted to know what signs would precede the future events Jesus spoke of regarding the destruction of the temple. Jesus goes on to tell them what to watch for but warns them sternly to stay alert because they don’t know when Jesus will be back.

What tasks have we been assigned? The task of reflecting God to the world and furthering his loving purposes in whatever way we can! He knew we would get lazy and distracted while we wait, so he warns sternly to keep watch.

No one knows when Jesus will return for his children. Don’t get caught sleeping, waiting to love others until you are more rested. You don’t know when he’s coming — stay alert, reflect God to others and love deeply!

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