“Beware, keep alert; for you do not know when the time will come.” ~~~ Mark 13:33 (NRSV)
Jesus repeatedly admonished his followers to remain alert, to stay vigilant, and to keep awake. But we don’t need to spend our lives looking up at the sky watching for Jesus to come back. That’s how the disciples stood after Jesus ascended to heaven, and the angels said to them, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” We don’t need to worry about when Jesus will come back. No amount of watchfulness will bring him back any quicker. What then is our watchfulness for?
Firstly we are to watch for opportunities to be a witness to the world around us. Ephesians 5:15-16 reads, “Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.” And Colossians 4:5-6 states, “Conduct yourselves wisely toward outsiders, making the most of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.”
Secondly we are to watch for opportunities to meet the needs of others. Titus 3:1 reminds us to, “Be ready for every good work.” And Galatians 6:10 encourages us, “So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us work for the good of all.”
Our watchfulness is not to be passive, but active. We are to remain alert to how our witness appears to others. We are to stay vigilant to meet the needs of those around us. We are to keep awake to do God’s will until the return of our Lord.
Prayer for Advent Peace (based on Joyce Rupp, O.S.M.): As I pray, I will let go of one fear or anxiety I have and place it in Emmanuel’s care. Amen.
Gabe H., Aptos United Methodist Church