Matthew chapter 24

Blessed is that slave whom the master finds at work when he comes. – Vs 46 (NET Bible)

This is a deep and difficult passage with a lot of end time prophesy given by Jesus. The disciples asked what they thought was a fairly simple question: “Make clear to us, when will these things be? and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the world?” (BBE). I think they were really wondering when He was going to set up His kingdom. The Greek word they use for “coming” is parousia and it can mean “arrival.” It’s the same word commonly used for the Lord’s return, but I think the disciples were using it to signify His arrival in Jerusalem as King. In just a few days Jesus would “arrive” in Jerusalem to cheers and shouts of “Hosanna!” But in spite of the disciple’s expectations, this would not be His official “arrival.”

But their simple question would get a very complex answer. Jesus ends up telling them more than they wanted to know and more than they would ever understand. But in all the things that Jesus would share with them regarding the tribulation times and His ultimate return, the phrase that struck me hardest was “blessed is that slave whom the master finds at work when he comes.” This is part of a small parable that Jesus weaved into His lecture on the ends times. He has been talking about being ready because His return will be unexpected and unannounced. Jesus never answers the part of their questions regarding the timing of His arrival. He basically tells them that only God knows the answer to that question. So they need to be ready. But none of the disciples would live to see His second coming. And none of us will be around either, due to the nature of the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13;18). But Jesus says that those who come to know Him during the great tribulation will need to be ready for Him to return at any time. So that when He does return, He will find them doing their jobs, doing what they are supposed to be doing, That is the essence of His mini-parable.

And isn’t that how we should be living our lives? Always ready. Always living with a sense of anticipation. There is a sense in which each of us as Christ-followers should have our sights set on the return of Christ. We should live as if He will show up this afternoon. We should want Him to return. And the truth is, He could return for His church any day. “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

So I need to be doing what I am supposed to be doing. I need to be about My Father’s business. That means I shouldn’t be distracted by the things of this world. I don’t want to have Him show up and find me busy doing my own thing. This is the way the disciples would end up living their lives. After Jesus was resurrected, they would each live their lives as if He was about to come back any minute. They fulfilled the Great Commission. They kept the Great Commandment. None would live to see the rapture of the church or the physical return of Christ, but they lived their entire lives in a state of perpetual readiness. That is how I want to live. I want to live a life of faithfulness. So that if Jesus should return for His church, He will find me ready. But if He delays and I experience death, I want my life to be a testimony of faithfulness. So that those who come behind me will find inspiration for their lives.

We’re pilgrims on the journey
Of the narrow road
And those who’ve gone before us line the way
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary
Their lives a stirring testament to God’s sustaining grace

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses
Let us run the race not only for the prize
But as those who’ve gone before us
Let us leave to those behind us
The heritage of faithfulness passed on through godly lives

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

After all our hopes and dreams have come and gone
And our children sift through all we’ve left behind
May the clues that they discover and the memories they uncover
Become the light that leads them to the road we each must find

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful
May the fire of our devotion light their way
May the footprints that we leave
Lead them to believe
And the lives we live inspire them to obey

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful

Father, I want to live a life of faithfulness. I want to be ready for Your Son’s return. Help me avoid the distractions of this world. Keep me on the path that You have prepared for me. May my life have a fire of devotion that lights the way for others to follow.  Amen

Ken Miller
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men
kenm@christchapelbc.org