Look for Him
Read Luke 21:20-38
After my Dad died, my Mom used to spend summers with us. On one particular day, Mom, my daughter and I spent the day shopping. Now before you think, How relaxing...let me make myself perfectly clear – we spent the day shopping. All of it. Morning til night. We started off at Tim Horton's with an early morning coffee where we made a list of all of the places where we needed to go – 17 in total – and then we were on our way.
The Christian bookstore for a birthday card. The office supply store for color photocopies. The drug store for shampoo and medicine. The post office to mail a package. The paint store for color samples. The grocery store for supplies. You get the picture. I pulled into so many different parking lots that by the end of the day, my van probably could've parked itself.
And my poor husband and sons at home. It if wasn't for my cell phone, and the “easy-to-follow” instructions on the Kraft Mac & Cheese box, I don't think they would've made it. But they understood. We were on a mission. We HAD to finish our shopping. At that moment, empires could fall, stomachs could growl, but for us three women, there was no higher calling. We were busy. We were shopping. We were... a little narrow-minded. And the Bible would agree. In fact, according to one particular verse, we sound a lot like the people Jesus was addressing in today's reading.
Jesus was very close to the end of His time on earth; He knew the Cross and His eventual departure were only days away. As a result, He spent considerable time addressing His imminent return. Virtually all of the verses in today's reading are the words of Jesus regarding that inevitable event. What to expect. The “signs of the times.” Nations will rise against each other. The seas and the skies will be in turmoil. Innocent people will be killed by the sword. These are some of the signs that will be a prelude to His amazing appearance. And we are to watch for these signs. We are to wait with insight and crisp expectation. But signs aren’t all He left us. He also left a warning. It was a warning for the warring nations. A warning for their busy citizens. A warning for three shopping-absorbed women. Reading from The Message version of the Bible, let's hear this warning from Jesus. And listen carefully.
But be on your guard. Don't let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. Luke 21:34, 35 (The Message)
Don't let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by… shopping. Really? Does it actually say that? You bet it does. And while I’m certain the paraphraser of this particular Scripture has nothing against a little bargain-hunting, I’m thinking he’s using the oh-so-fun pastime to make a point.
The day of Jesus' return will come on everyone, everywhere. We need to be ready. And we need to remember that in our easily distracted society, even an innocent distraction like shopping has the potential to sidetrack our lives from the important.
We need to look for Him. We need to live for Him. Jesus is coming again. He has never made a promise that He will not keep.
And this is one… among your many other errands… that you can definitely take to the bank.