It was brilliant!
At the beginning of my freshman year, one of the coaches (I think it was Jack Rutledge) told us about Coach Bryant in the infamous tower.
"Coach Bryant is up there, and he is not watching all that is going on. He is going to pick one player and watch him the whole day. He is going to watch you come out of the tunnel- he is going to watch you stretch- he is going to watch every drill- and if you loaf one time, you will never step on the game field for Alabama."
So everybody out there, coaches and players, all thought "he may be watching me" and no one took the day off.
Luke 12:35 a“Stay dressed for action6 and bkeep your lamps burning, 36 and be like men who are cwaiting for their master to come home from the wedding feast, so that they may open the door to him at once when he comes and dknocks. 37 eBlessed are those servants7 whom the master finds eawake when he comes. Truly, I say to you, fhe will dress himself for service and ghave them recline at table, and he will come and serve them. 38 If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them awake, blessed are those servants! 39 hBut know this, that if the master of the house had known at what hour ithe thief was coming, he8 would not have left his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be jready, for kthe Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
41 Peter said, “Lord, lare you telling this parable for us or for all?” 42 And the Lord said, “Who then is mthe faithful andmwise nmanager, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time?43 oBlessed is that servant9 whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you, phe will set him over all his possessions. 45 But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master qis delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and rget drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come son a day when he does not expect him and sat an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. 47 tAnd that servant who uknew his master's will but vdid not get ready uor act according to his will, will receive a wsevere beating. 48 xBut the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, ywill receive a light beating. zEveryone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
It is so hard to stay prepared. It is hard when the 'winter' sets in and the body feels beaten down.
I told my wife that the last few months, I have felt old. And it is why these holiday/summer breaks offer such a great chance to replenish.
It is funny how the Lord knows the pace of my life and prepares certain lessons for me to come at the right time.
It is easy in our busy society to work in a flurry of frustration and fatigue. We literally fall across the finish line. And I am coming to a season where I typically do this.
It's funny how God works on me in these instances. He providentially arranged for me to read the biography of George Mueller - which juxtaposes his drive to deepen his walk and my propensity to settle for mediocrity in mine and I recently watched the Shackleton Survival movie- which inspires me.
So here I am, looking at this passage and, as always, encouraged and pushed all at the same time.
KEY OF CONTEXT:
It is unmistakable here to see this encouragement and admonition in clear context. It is a message in front of thousands, but directed to the disciples first.
I am going to list some quick topics here that I may go back and elaborate on - but the verses above speak of 'being ready WHEN the Lord returns" and the context of the message has applications on what the expectations are:
The Subtle Seeds of Hyprocrisy: Part of being ready for the Lord is to understand that no pretension is going to survive His scrutiny. A prayer goal of 2012/13 school year will be the courage to uncover and deal with the secret sins. Not for show, but as a service to the Master.
The Pressure of Men: Because I am a people pleaser, I back down- but Christ does want me to stand up... for Him! And it means sharing my faith and owning up to my faith.
The Lure of Materialism: Because I live in the lap of luxury, I am consumed with consumerism. And God's calling/work is so opposite of what we call the American dream.
The Ingratitude of Worry: When I worry, I basically am saying that God is untrustworthy and a liar.
So all of this is part of the being ready:
Now to today's passage:
'Stay Dressed and Keep the Lamp Burning': So hard to do. I want to retreat and get away from it.
What does this mean?
There have been elements of Christianity throughout history that have become almost paranoid about dying during a sinful act and 'losing out' a place in paradise. Under this theory, a godly person could be so unlucky to have a lustful thought at the point of a heart attack, of utter a curse word as the boulder squashes them, or get shot while they had too much wine in the blood and be destined for hell. Some sects have gone as far to have ceremonial rites for people who have died in these states to plead for their souls.
This worry has no place for a believer who understands the gospel.
There are two aspects here in Jesus' admonition:
I truly believe this is our covering of Christ, our only hope of salvation. All of us tend to drift in this beautiful gospel message. We are saved by Christ alone. We are covered by His atoning blood alone. We do not want to ever get caught up in trying to clothe ourselves in the fig leaves of human righteousness.
Staying dressed means preaching the gospel to yourself everyday and humbly asking God to remind you of His mercy and rely on His power, protection, and provision. We all tend to drift. Gospel understanding leaks out of us.
But when the Lord returns, we are clinging to Him as our only hope.
Keep Your Lamps Burning.
This speaks (to me) of our need to live out the gospel in a growing obedience that is produced by the Holy Spirit as we walk as disciples of the Lord. It is not an everyday win- but it is a trend.
We have this holy 'pressure' of pleasing the One who has saved us... not to merit salvation.. not to make us look good... but just a simple journey of loving Him by keeping His commands.
When we do so, we shine light. But there is work involved, cutting wicks and gathering oil. Relighting and encouraging others. Reminding one another that it could be 'any day now'.
NOTICE THE ONES WHO ARE IN TROUBLE:
45 But if that servant says to himself, ‘My master qis delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the male and female servants, and to eat and drink and rget drunk, 46 the master of that servant will come son a day when he does not expect him and sat an hour he does not know, and will cut him in pieces and put him with the unfaithful. 47 tAnd that servant who uknew his master's will but vdid not get ready uor act according to his will, will receive a wsevere beating. 48 xBut the one who did not know, and did what deserved a beating, ywill receive a light beating. zEveryone to whom much was given, of him much will be required, and from him to whom they entrusted much, they will demand the more.
The more knowledge we have, the more responsibility we receive, and the greater the regret we have when we fail.
Sure, we all have times and seasons of drifting or dryness- but notice the trend here. This servant says in his mind, I have time, and lives ruthlessly and selfishly having NO REGARD for God and His goodness, this person will have a severe punishment.
Where are we trending toward?
WHEN JUDGEMENT FINALLY FALLS
As a Dean of Students, there are times when I decide to let the hammer drop. I have pleaded and warned a student in every way imaginable.. but they just keep on the behavior thinking either "I won't get caught" or "He won't really punish me"- and when I resolve to finally hit them hard, the shock is indescribable.
They burst into tears and sobs pleading for one more chance. But I have already exhausted that.
I know that without the punishment, they will never stop and the lack of punishment only encourages others to keep being disobedient as well.
It is never a pleasant experience- but it is a reality. NO ONE WANTS IT OR WELCOMES IT.
I don't know... and maybe all generations feel this... but I just don't think we have that long before the Master returns. We need to stay dressed for action and standing alert.
I don't want to be found unfaithful, so I plead for His grace and help.
"When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on the earth?"