Wake up. For some people I know, those are some of the harshest words in the English language. "Wake Up" is not always an easy thing to hear. But in our lesson for today, it’s what Jesus is calling to us, his Church, specifically to each and every one of us. Wake Up.
You see, he tells the story of a man who goes away and leaves his house to his servants to run and take care of until he returns, and he stresses the importance of them doing just that when he returns, whenever he returns. Now, of course, in this parable, Jesus is that man, who has gone away, and will return. The house is his church, and we believers — you and I — are the servants. He told this story to make sure that we are working when our Lord returns.
But we don’t know when that will be. No matter how many people may tell you they’ve figured out just when Christ will return, God is clear — we won’t know. But we do know that he will return. He’s just as clear about that. And from what signs he’s told us to be looking for — that return will be soon.
Shouldn’t that dramatically change the way we live our lives? Shouldn’t we be living as "end-time Christians," instead of as "we-still-have-a-long-long-time-Christians?" Our Lord has entered this world, suffered the most terrible things, and died the most horrible death, and all for just one reason: That he might rescue us from sin and hell and take us to live with him forever when he returns. Shouldn’t we live like that one is coming?
Have you ever asked yourself the question: "What would I do if I only had one month to live?" Think about that. Do you think we would use our time a little differently? I can’t imagine spending much time watching television or reading magazines. I think I’d want to spend the time talking with my family and getting into the word, and doing all I could to encourage those I care about. And I can’t see myself going out and buying a lot of "things." I think I’d want to sit down with my family and talk about how we could divide our money so their needs would be taken care of and the work of the Lord would also be supported. I tend to think I’d have a whole new set of priorities if I knew I was going to stand before my Lord in just one month. Wouldn’t you too?
So, are we spiritually awake? Are we living like that? Are we living like the servants that Jesus has "Put in charge" of his house, his church, as our text tells us? The Savior, who died to purchase his church, who used his blood as the mortar of this spiritual building, who is the Church — He put us in charge of it. That is amazing. We have the authority and responsibility to "run" the church until Jesus returns. That’s almost scary. But to accomplish that, our Lord says he gives to each "his assigned task." Each one of us, every believer, has some responsibility the Lord has entrusted to him or her.
So, wake up. Get to church and find out how God wants to use you, with your particular assigned task.
the Rev. Jonathan E. Scharf
Abiding Grace Lutheran