Love makes us ready for Jesus' return

Randall Goodgame | February 4th 2020

When Amy and I were first married 23 years ago, some new friends in Nashville asked us to house-sit and watch their 10-year old son. Armed with little more than toothbrushes, clothes, groceries and a few books, we moved in. For one week we took their kid to school, walked their yellow labrador, watered their plants, and “kept watch” over their house (while also thoroughly enjoying their possessions including a beautiful Steinway grand piano).

Many times, toward the end of his earthly ministry, Jesus told his disciples to “keep watch” (Matthew 25:13), “be ready” (Luke 12:37), and “watch and pray” (Mark 13:33). And like house sitting, keeping watch for the Lord often includes caring for the things He cares about. 

And because this is a fallen world and we are fallen humans, things go wrong. On day one, Amy and I got in an argument about how to park in their driveway, and on day two, the 10-year-old “accidentally” jumped in the pool with all his clothes on. This is life. Plans go awry. We get hurt and we hurt each other. How can we watch and wait the way Jesus wants us to while pride and fear and ambition steal our attention like text messages buzzing in our ears? 

“It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes.” Luke 12 v 37

Jesus and the Very Big Surprise

Jesus and the Very Big Surprise

£8.99 £7.64

Teach children about Jesus’ return and why it’s so surprising.

An identity calling

I think we can learn a lot from the servants in Luke 12.They are blessed because they are found waiting when the master returns. So how do they do it? First and foremost, they know they are servants. That is their identity. And even though they’ve surely been busy all day keeping up the master’s estate, the fact is they’ve been waiting since the moment he left. 

To get ready for heaven, you and I must begin by claiming that same identity, with the same certainty. After all, the command to “keep watch” carries the presumption of an existing relationship. We are not watching and waiting to meet someone for the first time, but to meet and greet someone we know: our Lord and Master – our Savior and Best Friend. He is coming soon. And, though we wait for his return, his Spirit is already here, dwelling within us and transforming our spirits to be ready for heaven. We can’t ignore Him now and expect a warm greeting when he returns in his fullness.

So, from the moment I hear the wake-up ringtone on my phone, to the moments before I drift off to evening sleep, keeping watch becomes a way of life. And like every well-tended relationship, intentionality bears fruit: If I do love God, then I pray to him and get to know him better through spending time in his Word. Then, those well-watered seeds of faith grow roots and shoots and leaves in my heart and character, and (to extend the metaphor) soon begin to provide shade and food for others. 

If I love God, then I pray to him and get to know him better through spending time in his Word

Relationship starts here and now

We stay alert in our everyday lives. We work, but with the awareness that Jesus is with us and with eagerness to love others as he loves us.  We make our plans in pencil, but allow the Lord to “determine our steps” (Prov. 16:9) at any moment – with regard to our feet, our hands, our time, and our wallets. We practice this mysterious faith through what Dallas Willard called “constant conscious interface” with Jesus, knowing that the gift of the Holy Spirit was never only to comfort and cleanse, but to make us into “living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1), poured out in service to Christ and his coming Kingdom. 

My book Jesus and the Very Big Surprise, was written to help children aged 3-6 understand these things by taking them to the twists and turns, the fun and the message of this wonderful little parable. As you turn the pages, the servants are committed to their master. They get sleepy, but still they stay busy, caring for all of the things he cares about until he returns. When he does return, they experience a big surprise indeed. 

This is our reality and our destiny. God is with us, and he is also coming soon. Let’s get ready together by loving him and loving one another (Matthew 22:36-40).

Jesus and the Very Big Surprise teaches children that Jesus will return, and when he does, there will be an amazing party where... SURPRISE!... he will serve his faithful servants! The latest from The Good Book Company’s bestselling series Tales That Tell The Truth is out now. Get your copy here.

Randall Goodgame

Randall Goodgame is a critically-acclaimed singer/songwriter, and the creative force behind Slugs & Bugs. He has released 6 solo recordings, and has written many songs for other artists, including 17 songs for the award winning band Caedmon's Call. Randall has written several songs for Veggie Tales, and he spent 4 years as the worship pastor of Midtown Fellowship in downtown Nashville. Randall enjoys peanut butter and chocolate anything, and being home with his family of 5 in Nashville, TN.

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