Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
As we consider the coming of the Lord at the end of time, Matthew 24:44 makes it clear that we do not know when it will happen. We need to be alert and awake, as servants of God, so he will find us doing our duty.
What is that duty? Jesus describes the duty in Matthew 24:45-47. It is not burdensome, nor dangerous. This is the work of a "faithful and wise servant" - placed over the household, making sure that everyone in the household is properly supplied with food. It's the work of a domestic servant, spending the master's resources in a wise way, taking care of everyone.
Jesus promises to come and to gather his people to himself. When he does, there will be a conflict. He describes Satan as a strong man who is guarding his house. And he describes himself as the thief who is able to overcome the strong man and plunder the house. Jesus' clear message is that we, his people, are in bondage to Satan and his kingdom, but that Jesus intends to defeat Satan and rescue us from that bondage.
At times we think life is going pretty well. At other times, not so well. Even while we are burdened by the trials of our world, we are also servants of God in Christ, using his resources to care for others. His plan is to come and straighten everything out. Though the battle may be fierce, it is a battle at which we are merely spectators. We keep on about the work of loving and serving our neighbors. Jesus will come, in the last day, plunder Satan, rescue us and all who believe on him from oppression, and reward us with a blessed forever.
What does this have to do with our festival of this week? The work of Timothy, pastor and confessor, was to bring the good news of Jesus' kingdom to his community. He was to convict people of sin and to free them with the liberating message that Jesus has done all that is necessary to bring them to eternal life. That's the same charge we all have. Christ is coming. It's good news.
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