Blessed Are the Vigilant

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How many of us find waiting difficult? Best guess? All of us! In my experience, I too often equate waiting with “doing nothing.” I’ve been guilty of seeing waiting as a passive surrender to someone elses sense of time. But waiting, as it is described in this passage from Luke is not a passive thing at all. Luke is giving us an example of waiting as a matter of Christian servanthood here. It is a very active thing. Jesus, the master, came to us over 2,000 years ago. He lived among us, taught us how to be fully human with one another, suffered for us, died on the cross, rose from the dead, then ascended back to heaven. He is “away at the wedding” now and we, his “servants” have been left to await his return, whether that be at our individual deaths, or the actual Second Coming he has promised. In either sense, our “waiting” is best done by living our lives fully. How?

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Well, we must “gird our loins” and serve as Jesus served. We must love, we must feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, welcome the stranger, clothe the naked, care for the sick, and visit those in prison. (Matthew 25:35-36) In doing these things, we are “lighting our lamps,” we are actively “waiting” for the Second Coming in every moment of our lives, in every action of our days. This is what real “waiting” is all about.

Jesus will come again. Are we ready? Do we “wait” with girded loins? Do we light our lamps so that others can see the One for whom we wait? Can others see God in all that we do and say? Of course we are not perfect. We know that, and God knows it better than we. But it is his will to love us, to help us through his Holy Spirit in our efforts along the way. That we know and believe too. It is our desire “to be ready” that leads us to “wait” actively through the service that we render to our spouses, our children, our co-workers, our neighbors, the strangers, and the disenfranchised among us. And, yes, even our “enemies.” We gird our loins by praying always, and in all ways. Our private prayer should lead us to the public prayer of our lives in service to others. Why, because when we “wait” actively, as described in that short passage from Matthew 25, we are actually serving the person of Christ. If we can learn to see Christ in every person we meet and treat them accordingly, we will be those “vigilant and blessed servants” that Jesus tells us about in Luke 12:38. Let us wait, then, with girded loins and with lighted lamps. For he is coming! Thanks be to God.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.