Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back…(Mark 13:35).
Years ago, I was hanging out with some friends who were performing a pretty stellar prank. Now, I’m not normally one for pranking and often discourage others from doing so, but, being a young impressionable teen at the time, I went for it.
I was given a simple task. I was on watch duty. I was making sure the rest of the group performing the task was safe to complete it. If I saw a car coming I was supposed to alert the group so they could flee the scene and run for cover. I had a false alarm once, which you can imagine sent the group into a panic. Truth is, even though I wasn’t doing much, I had an extremely important job as I was keeping watch.
Jesus tells us to “keep watch” in Mark 13. He says we do not know when the day or the hour may come, but we need to be ready for His return. But, what does this mean? What does this look like to stand watch? If I may, I think to some degree it means that we must be willing to set up safety nets at the door of our own hearts. We must be willing to have the Spirit on call at all times watching the doorway of our hearts so that distractions, sins and stubborn rebellion do not enter in.
What was Jesus looking for? Was He looking for people of great prestige with names for themselves and extravagant resumes? No, He was looking for people who would be ready to stand guard. He was seeking those who would be willing to stand watch and be ready with a spiritual readiness that showed they were ready, at all costs, to do whatever it took to be partners in His Kingdom work.
Have you ever thought to yourself that you are a soldier enlisted in God’s army? What if you abandoned your post and fled the scene? What then would become of the rest of your battalion? Would they be kept safe? Would they know when danger is coming? Maybe the job God has given you to do feels insignificant at the moment, but it very well could be for the saving of many lives, you just can’t see it right now.
What if protecting the doorway of your heart was for the protection of your home so evil doesn’t get in? What if guarding that doorway, in the long run, produced children with a greater trust in God? What if protecting your post meant that peoples lives would be saved? Is that fruit worth pursuing or should we instead be looking to have our extravagance put on display and abandon the doorway so we can set ourselves up on the stage instead? I don’t think so. Instead, let us be ready to stand firm and hold our post, for the potential saving of many lives.
Can I be really honest? Sometimes I live very spiritually unaware. I have noticed, there are times when I flee my post and enter into the room of negative thinking. As I do this, doubt, discouragement, and criticism start to sneak their way into my heart. As you can imagine, this leads my heart down a path of rebellion, untrust, and disbelief. So today I’m choosing to live more aware of my own heart. I’m choosing to live with a keen awareness that at any moment I can flee the scene and be led down a miserable path that doesn’t trust God. Today, I want to stand watch, because I know my heart can become so easily discouraged without The Holy Spirit’s wisdom over me.
Lord, I am ready to stand watch. Sometimes, I grow tired of holding my post, but I want to be ready. I want to be on guard for your return. Help me, Father, to play my part well so that I am not one to be found fallen asleep. Abba, grow my heart like yours and grant me spiritual strength, I pray, in Jesus name, Amen.