Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near.
Why is it so important to love God with everything we are and have? Why is it so important to love our neighbour as ourselves? Because it is all His. And, the King is coming to claim his Kingdom.
Followers of Jesus are to constantly live by faith. In other words, we are to be sure of what we hope for and to be certain of what we do not see. This is how the Christian is to live. Jesus put it another way, "Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit."
It's a wonderful era we live in. Jesus has finished the work of salvation. Now, the servants of his kingdom are waiting for him to return and claim his kingdom in full. Jesus gives his disciples these standing orders until he returns.
People who work in emergency services know all about being dressed for action. What makes those circumstances more interesting is we never know when emergencies will happen. We never know when fires, riots, accidents, military attacks will happen. In fact, thankfully, these emergencies are so infrequent that the majority of time is spent training and in drills.
One drill is to learn how to get dressed as fast as possible. The chief rings the bell and stands with a stopwatch as each man goes from sleeping attire to fire-resistant clothes.
When I was in the Army and in the middle of a combat zone, I learned to sleep with my boots on and my gas mask next to my arm. When I showered I had my clothes neatly layed out next to the shower so that I could get dressed as quick as possible.
The image Jesus uses is a bit more extreme for his disciples. The servants were always to be ready for they didn't know when the master would return. The master, returning from a wedding banquet, expected to come into a house ready. The lights were to be on and the house fully ready for him to live in. The master of the house was not to be left waiting at his own door. The master of the house was to have everything at his disposal. He expected his servants ready to serve.
So, for followers of Jesus, what is the proper uniform?
Paul, had some thoughts about this. He wrote, "You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness."
According to Paul, as he learned through the teachings of his Lord Jesus, being dressed for action is to put on the uniform designed by our master, conforming to the likeness of our master. The likeness of our master is true righteousness and holiness. Righteousness is to live right in the eyes of the master while holiness is to be set apart through purity.
According to Paul, as he learned through the teachings of his Lord Jesus, followers of Jesus are to be dressed for action by just and pure living. Only then, can the servants be ready to act in any situation. Only then, can the servants keep the house ready for the master's return.
When we honestly look at our lives, we wonder if we can wear the uniform our Father has made for us. Righteousness? Holiness? I'm not worthy of that uniform. I'm nowhere close.
But, here He is; the Father's Son, offering the uniform to anyone who trusts His insistance that He has made it possible for us to be worthy enough to wear the uniform. And, even more extraordinary, the master will show appreciation for the servants' service by serving them.
Jesus makes it clear in this and other teachings that it is not the servant's responsibility to know when the master will return. I venture to say that servants who continue to try to learn when the master will return are harming the kingdom since they are distracting the other servants from their true responsibilities. The master's servants are not responsiblle for knowing when the master will return but to have the house ready for when he does.
Thank you Father for sending your Son Jesus. Thank you for making this magnificent uniform. Thank you for your patience as I learn how to wear it properly so that I'm ready for action. Thank you for the hope that I find in Jesus. Thank you for giving me everything that I need to have the house ready for your return.