Sermon: "Living on Tiptoe" Rev. Anderson
Mark 13:32-27 1 Thes. 5:1-11
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The King is Coming! Here again the words of
the coming King: “What I say to you, I say to
everyone: ’Watch!’" (Mark 13:37 NIV)
I’m about to say a word, and I want you to
see if you know what it means. The word is
Somnambulism. Somnambulism... do you know
what it means? -~->
For those of you having difficulty, let me
tell you about Sam-- a somnambulist.
Sam suddenly gets out of his bed, it’s three
o’clock in the morning. Sam’s eyes are wide
open, but he doesn’t record what he sees.
He places on a robe and walks down the stairs
narrowly missing Susie’s skate and a tumble
to the first floor.
Sam unlocks the front door, walks out into
the yard leaving the door unlocked and open.
The automatic watering system splashes him
with water, but he doesn’t notice.
Sam walks down the sidewalk until he reaches
main street. Even at this early hour cars
and trucks are in a frenzy on Main Street.
Sam doesn’t see their lights or hear their
horns as he walks directly out into the
street as cars and truck veer to the side to
avoid hitting him.
Sam walks by a street person--poor and hungry
who begs for a crumb to calm his aching,
empty stomach, but Sam records no sights and
sounds of poverty.
He walks by a church where bells are ringing
the 4:00 hour, but he does not hear the wake-
up call, or heed the warning that time is
Sam’s wife discovers he is gone. She rouses
her children and finds her husband on Main
Street. She pleads with him to come home as
the children cry and pull at the sleeve on
his robe, but he is unaware of their
attention, and their need for his.
Sam is a somnambulist-- a sleepwalker. In
the deepest recesses of sleep, he can walk,
open doors, and move about, but he records
nothing which will benefit him, or benefit
others. As bad as this is, it gets worse...
he endangers his life, and the life of
If you wanted to hire a watch-guard, would
you hire a somnambulist--one who looks awake
but is dead to the world, or would you seek
to enlist someone energetic, vital, posed on
tiptoes-- looking out from the gate?
Jesus is speaking to His disciples as he
prepares to die, rise, and ascend into
heaven. He is the Master of the parable who
leaves the house in the charge of his
He is standing outside of the temple after
telling His disciples something remarkable--
all the stones of the temple will be
displaced and the temple will be destroyed.
The disciples want to know when this will
take place? His answer is profoundly bigger
than their question. He transports them
beyond the fall of Jerusalem in 70 A.D.,
pointing to the destruction of the heavens
It’s as if the disciples are asking Jesus
when the tree will shed its leaves, and Jesus
answers by telling them when the tree will
lose its trunk.
They are like frisky children tucked into bed
asking when the lights must be turned out,
and Jesus answers by telling them of the hour
when stars, and suns and moons will plummet
as nature falls into complete darkness.
The disciples show our own dim reflection in
a mirror. We, with them, would play through
the seasons from dusk to dawn forgetting that
a midnight hour comes when time stops,
seasons end, and stars fall.
AND WHAT IS IT THAT JESUS WANTS US TO DO?
Stay awake! STAY AWAKE!!! I ask myself and
each of us today, are we awake, or are we
spiritual somnambulists? Are we letting the
significance of life sweep by us unnoticed,
or are we standing on tiptoes, waiting and
working for the King’s return?
As the Lord Jesus begins to share His
parable, he says, in the Greek, “blepo”-- the
act of the eye which sees. It means "Heh!
Look at this! Pay attention!"
But I wonder if after Jesus said "blepo" He
looked at the disciples’ faces and they said
back to Him, ’What are you talking about, we
And so the great I AM says-- with emphasis--
As if to say, “You act as if I am preparing
you for when the lamp runs out of oil, but I
am telling you to prepare for when the
heavens lose their stars!”
“You think of worldly matters and would use
me to keep your lamp in oil. I am telling
you of eternal things-- matters of life and
death-- physical and spiritual.”
To make His point Jesus tells them and us a
parable-- yes us! We are mentioned
He speaks of the master leaving the house to
his servants. Jesus will ascend into heaven
giving over the ministry of saving souls to
His Holy Spirit active within God’s saints.
Each servant is given duties to preform, but
a special command is given to the thurOros--
Who does the doorkeeper represent? Some say
he represents pastors who are watchers at the
gate. Although the text clearly includes
pastors as among doorkeepers, the meaning is
The master tells the doorkeeper to watch.
Immediately Jesus leaves the parable, looks
at His disciples... looks at you sitting in
the pew and with piercing eyes says, "I say
THEN, KNOWING SOMETHING AWESOME ABOUT THE
HUMAN CONDITION, WARNS US, "KEEP AWAKE!"
This phrase, “Keep Awake” or “Keep Alert,"
has the root meaning of "GET UP!" As Sam’s
wife and children might plead, "Wake up!"
Jesus warns us to "Get up! Arise!"
It was just a little more than a week ago
that I walked along the water’s edge under a
Florida sky and looked up at the stars. I
thought again about how enormous the universe
is. I recalled reading the description of
its size as astronomers have tried to
determine it. It’s vastness is beyond my
mind and your mind.
Yet as great as our universe is, there is a
Power greater. The universe is limited, this
Power is not.
The universe is mindless, this Power is not.
The universe is corrupt, this Power is
The universe will pass away, this Power
The children of the universe–those who live
for thrill of the moment and the excitement
of their carnal appetites; will pass away.
But those who live on tiptoes–lamps filled
and waiting for the King’s return, they will
not pass away, but live forever.
My friends in Christ, spiritual somnambulism
is deadly. Children have been baptized, but
then at the world’s siren call (often because
of worldly parents), they have fallen into
unbelief–doomed to parish when the stars are
extinguished in the heavens and the earth
flashes like a spark to become a cold, dead
" Lift up your eyes to the heavens,
look at the earth beneath; the
heavens will vanish like smoke, the
earth will wear out like a garment
and its inhabitants die like flies.
But my salvation will last forever,
my righteousness will never fail."
(Isaiah 51:6 NIV)
Are you suffering from spiritual
somnambulism? Well, let’s make a few closing
comments which reflect upon this question.
First, the righteousness which does not fail;
that which saves us, comes from God. We are
saved not by our works, but in God’s grace
through faith. LET’S HAVE NO FALSE NOTION
after this sermon that the Bible suggests
that we must do some good work to be saved.
But secondly, listen to the Holy Spirit
through the Apostle Peter: 11 "Since
everything will be destroyed in this way,
what kind of people ought you to be? You
ought to live holy and godly lives 12 as you
look forward to the day of God and speed its
coming. That day will bring about the
destruction of the heavens by fire, and the
elements will melt in the heat. 13 But in
keeping with his promise we are looking
forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the
home of righteousness. 14 So then, dear
friends, since you are looking forward to
this, make every effort to be found spotless,
blameless and at peace with him." (2 Peter 3
"WE ARE LOOKING FORWARD," St. Peter declares.
If I could give you a picture of Christian
stewardship in a snapshot, as it were, it
would be drawn in a Norman Rockwell painting.
I would see your face on a child and all this
child’s earthly belongings would hang from a
bag tied to a stick. I see the child standing
tiptoe at eternities edge holding the
withered, tired, lean hand of all mankind.
Christian discipleship is you, and I, with
childlike hearts, offering all that we have
for saving souls as we await the Coming King
at eternity’s gate.
Let each of us go to our homes today, and
think about new and bigger ways to share in
the privilege of being wide awake and waiting
for Christ the coming King as we serve Him
and humanity with a sacrificial use of time,
talents, and treasures. Amen.