Tag Archives: End Times

Don’t Ever Go to Sleep

book wormThere have been moments in my life when I really, really wanted to sleep. Generally these have been academic situations, although I suppose it has happened in church too. Mind you that’s not a comment on whatever preacher it might have been necessarily, for I have fallen asleep on some fine sermons in my time. But I digress, my point is that sometimes I have really wanted to go to sleep.

I’m sure I’m not the only one. Sometimes you’re just tired. Maybe it was a late night, or insomnia struck. Whatever the situation, you find yourself longing for a horizontal position and a view of the inside of your eyelids.

I bring this up because of the closing thoughts in Mark 13. Jesus has spent a long discourse on the end of days, what will happen when he returns, at the end of time, and then he closes this way…

Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake– for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning–lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” Mark 13:33-37 (ESV)

Note carefully what He is saying here. Whatever you do, don’t go to sleep. Never. Certainly not at 10 p.m. But also not at midnight. Not at 2 a.m., when you are crying out to close your eyes, But also not at first light.  Never…and do it again for the next day and the next.

Talk about tired. If I thought Social Psychology was a dozer, what Jesus is asking seems much harder. In his commentary on Mark, R.T. France says, “The metaphor is vivid, but apparently impractical. No one can stay awake all the time…How we can remain prepared while maintaining the ordinary responsibilities of life (yes, and its relaxations) we are left to work out for ourselves.”

But of course, France is right – it is obviously not a literal command.  It is a metaphor…about readiness. And I think I have an idea about what Jesus is getting at – He’s warning us about wasting time…about having a seriousness of purpose…about making this one and only life count.

Diane and I were at Wheaton College to hear Josh sing in the Thundertones last Thursday. After dinner with us, he was off to rehearsal and we had some time to wait for the concert. So for the first time we wandered slowly through their beautiful and huge athletic facility. And at one point she drew me over to the trophy case and a picture of a championship team from 1950’s era. Diane teased me with a line from one of my all-time favorite movies…

“Listen,” she said, “I think they’re saying something…Carpe Deum. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” And many of those fresh-faced young men are now pushing up daisies. Their race is run, and from the portals of time, they whisper to us…to run ours well.

Ah yes, for aside from the starker warning to continue to follow Him and not fall away (surely part of this injunction to stay awake), I think this is the other part of what Jesus is saying: “Only one life will soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” So labor, and serve, and toil hard with all your might at Kingdom work. And of course…

Stay awake.


For Tomorrow, Thursday, April 30: Mark 14

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Posted by on April 29, 2015 in Uncategorized


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A Morning’s Conversation at the City Gate

City Gate“Greetings, Methushael, and how are you and yours this fine summer’s morning?”

The sun shone brightly and gave an air of triumph to the beckoning day. The two old friends had stopped at the city gate, each to pay respect to the local elders.  It had been some time since their last meeting, and over the din of the nearby bustling market with hawkers and traders, the two continued their conversation:

“My spirit is well, Orbad, and yours?”

“I shall make no complaints today, for my sweet wife is in a fine temper; surely you know that our oldest daughter Zillah is uniting with Arphax’s son Accad in marriage in one week’s time.” Orbad’s broad smile matched his joyous news.

“I had heard, and a hearty congratulations to you, brother! Can it be that your precocious little daughter has grown so quickly? I can hardly comprehend the passing of these years! Yes, but she is a beauty, and all praise to the gods, Accad will surely make her a fine husband.”

“You are too kind, old friend, and while all our household is delighted and much in favor of this union, I must admit that privately, even with the bride price, the cost of all this pageantry is taking me down to my last unit.”

“Ah, yes,” Methushael countered, “But when you hear the tromping of the tiny feet of your grandchildren in your home, you will sigh that your poverty has been worth it.”

“I don’t doubt it, sir, and alas, you do speak as the expert in these matters.  How is your growing brood?”

“We are all well, to be sure, and truly expanding, for next month my daughter-in-law Obal will be presenting our sixth grandchild.”  Methushael boasted.

“Then you are to be envied again and again, dear friend.” Orbad said. “Please wish such good fortune on my household in days to come.”

“Oh, I will.  I surely will.  But, you must grant me leave, now friend.  I have to travel to Eber for trade today, and you know the route to the trading center has lately been obstructed by that monstrous project of that man…what was his name?  The fool, you know, don’t you?”

“He goes by the name Noah, as I remember. And he is creating quite an eyesore with this fantasy project of his. He says the world is coming to an end.”

“Hah!  Truly a fool.  How could the world be ending? There is too much business to attend to!  Moreover, you have a wedding to celebrate, and I…I have my lovely grandchildren to tend to.”

For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. Matthew 24:37-39 (ESV)


On Wednesday, February 4: Matthew 25

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Posted by on February 3, 2015 in Uncategorized


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