Are you, like the Boy Scouts, prepared? And can you be prepared for every eventuality? It doesn’t seem likely does it? Sometimes, the best thing you can do to be prepared is to be willing to roll with life’s twists and turns. There are these sneaky dangers out there. And no one waltzes through life unscathed. Not to scare you; not to fill you with anxiety; not to cripple you with apprehension. Are you prepared for scathing? During this time of quarantine, Cindy and I have been binging the Great British Baking Show. I don’t know anything about baking, but I do know about panic. The bakers who begin to panic, begin to make serious mistakes. Those who calmly prepare, rolling with the weather, the moments all full of kerfuffle, the annoying interruptions from judges and hosts, seem to do better. It is as if they have prepared themselves on the inside. And maybe that is the key. Being prepared is about readying ourselves for the things of life. It is not about living in anxious anticipation of disaster. It is about preparing ourselves for the possibility that disaster may come.
Luke 12:39-40 is a parable that makes the same point as the parable found in verses 36-38. But it is a view from a different angle. And viewing something from a different angle can give you more insight. The overall message is to be ready. The first parable emphasizes the idea of being ready to serve; to be girded and ready to serve; to have the lamp lit; to wait awake. Turn the picture around and view the concept of being ready from a different angle. Be ready because there is danger lurking; there is the possibility of loss. The thief doesn’t send out an announcement of when he will strike your house. Not unless he is extremely arrogant or stupid or both. The owner of the house would be waiting for him with a weapon or police or a chocolate cake. Probably not the cake. Baking show residue. Either way, the lord of the house will not just sit back and permit his house to be dug into. Most houses were baked mud and brick. The easiest way to break in was to dig. And since the thief is not likely to announce the night and time of his digging into the house, the master of the house should be prepared for the possibility.
So, you too be prepared. The word prepared is used for preparing a banquet. It is used for the concept of God preparing the kingdom for his people. It implies work; a getting things ready. The Son of Man is like a thief. He is coming at an hour that you do not think or suppose he will come. The Son of Man most likely takes us back to Daniel 7:13-14. You have the Ancient of Days sitting on a fiery throne. Daniel looked and one like a son of man was coming. He went up to the Ancient of Days “and was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion.” When someone is given a kingdom, it is a time of rejoicing and a time of dread. If you have been supporting the now king, you can rejoice. But if you had not been supporting him, you sir or madam, are in trouble.
The first view of being ready is about wakefully waiting to serve the master and being surprised right out of your socks by having the master serve you. The second view of being ready is about preparing so that you can avoid loss. In the first there is an allusion to the great banquet of God. In the second there is an allusion to judgment. Being prepared in this scenario is serving the coming king, even though he has not come into his authority yet. Look around you. There is much in this world that operates outside of the wishes of Jesus. So, there is this tension we feel. Jesus is already king. All authority has been given to him. But a day is coming when all things will bow to him and acknowledge his rule. And that day will come at an hour that is surprising.
Why so mysterious about your coming Jesus? He wants faithful servants. Servants that serve out of loyalty. He doesn’t want unfaithful servants, who receive notice of the kings return and, therefore, slack off until the return is imminent. Does that make sense? Those unfaithful servants will be caught unaware; ill-prepared. And they will face judgment.
I have this, what I’m sure some would call a child-like, belief. I believe that if you are prepared for the coming of the Son of Man, you will be more prepared to navigate the twists, the upheavals, the collapses, the pandemics, the losses, of this life. I believe that serving the king prepares you on the inside. It steels your soul. Will there be loss? Yes. Will you be prepared? Serve Jesus and find out. God bless.