Read Luke 8:35-48
35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning,36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. (Luke 12:35-37)
Whenever I read this text I immediately think of apocalyptic preachers, Left Behind books, and 1970s era Larry Norman songs. The message of each is basically the same, “Be ready! The Lord is coming back to judge so get your crud together and get it together now!”
When I read this text, however, I wonder if there might be a slightly different take worth considering. Particularly, I think it is worth paying attention to what the master actually does when he arrives home. The text says that upon the master’s return, “he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.” No immediate judgement. No apocalyptic thunder. The master returns and his first order of business is to serve. I’m not saying that its pointless to talk about judgement and that sort of thing… and there are certainly some things along those lines to wrestle through as this text continues. But how Jesus describes the master’s return says something about his nature that we don’t want to miss. Jesus’ isn’t just waiting in the wings… running out of patience…. eager to come back and unleash his wrath on his people who have lost the plot. It seems to me, from this text and countless others (along with my own experience of knowing Jesus) that he is much more interested in finding every way possible to communicate his love for us as his family.
Be ready. Be ready for whatever Jesus has in store for us this day! Follow the lead of our master whose instinct and nature is to love and serve before anything else.