Today’s reading:  Matthew 24:29-51

What comes to your mind when you hear the word “surprise”?  Something unexpected?  Do you think of something good, like a party or running into an old friend you didn’t expect to see?  Or do you think of something bad, like an unexpected bill or an unfavorable medical diagnosis you didn’t see coming?   When I think of surprises, I generally think of bad (or inconvenient) things.

  • Surprise, I’m going to show the house in an hour.  Can you go home and run the vacuum, make the bed and shine up the bathroom?
  • Surprise, my boyfriend is coming home with me after school.  I told him you would drive him home to Fox Creek (40 minutes round trip) before dinner.
  • Surprise, I am sick in bed and might need your help taking care of Grandma until your Dad gets home on Friday.

Yes, I can be surprised by good things too.  But I am a planner by nature.  If possible, I like to know what (good or bad) is coming so I can plan ahead.  I like to be prepared!

Our scripture for today is about being prepared for the end of the world and the second coming of Christ.  To people who don’t follow Jesus and/or don’t read the Bible, the second coming of Christ will likely feel like a surprise because no one (not even Jesus himself) knows the day or the hour of his return.

But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father (Matthew 24:36).

While we don’t know when, we do know for sure he is coming back.  As such, we should not be surprised when he gets here.  Between now and then, we should spend our time getting ready.  Since we know he is coming and we have plenty of time to prepare, we have no excuse for not being ready when he finally arrives.

“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him (Matthew 24:42-44).

So what does exactly does preparing for Christ’s return look like?

Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it (Luke 9:23-24).