Summary: 11th Sunday after Pentecost Ready for the coming of Jesus
"Are you ready in Faith"
Are you a fool? Let me repeat that statement. Are you a fool? Listen to the following story, then decide if you are a fool or not.
"A certain lord kept a fool or jester, in his house as a great men did in olden times for their amusement. This lord gave a staff to his fool and told him to keep it until he met a greater fool than himself, and if he met such a person, a greater fool, he should give him the staff.
Not many years after, the lord fell sick. His fool came to see him and was told of the lord’s illness. The fool asked, "And whither wilt thou go?"
"On a Long journey," said the lord.
"And when will you come back again," asked the fool, "within a month?"
"No," said the master.
"Within a year?" asked the fool.
"No, never," responded the master.
"And what provisions have you made for your long journey?" asked the fool.
"None at all," replied the master.
"You mean you are dying, going away forever," said the fool, "and you have made no provisions before your departure? No plans, no nothing? Here, take my staff for I am not guilty of any such folly as that. You are a greater fool than I am."
Are you like the master, a fool, because you have not planned for your last journey? That is a harsh statement, but such a statement is called for as our gospel text this morning speaks about being ready for the coming of Christ.
"Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master find them watching when he comes.......You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him."
Jesus is reminding us that we are accountable to Him for the faith lives which we live. Our Lord challenges us to be faithful at all times as we walk our journey of trusting in Him. Our faith is not something which we turn on and off, but something which is always prevalent in our lives. Jesus wants us to be accountable in our faithfulness.
For example. I remember the summers I worked for my father in the factory he managed. The plant made a quick drying cement, and my job was to fold the boxes that they put the cement in. These boxes would come from the box company folded up, and I would have to unfold them, put in the bottoms and the fold the tops together, and then insert a plastic liner in the box. Dad wanted me to do the boxes, because he hoped I would be able to keep at that tedious job.
I can remember, Dad would pop in several times during the day to see how I was doing. I was in a big room and had to fill a large bin with these boxes and it was very easy to become bored. It was easy to look out the window, or watch what the other men were doing, but I knew that Dad would come and I needed to be folding those boxes. Dad’s dropping in kept me accountable. By the end of the summer, I could fold those boxes in my sleep.
I was faithful to my task and in the same way, Jesus’ unanticipated and sudden coming keeps us motivated or conscientious. I don’t see this coming so much as a threat, and yet because it is sudden it motivates us to be ready for Him inasmuch as we want our faithfulness to please him.
This faithfulness is based on the promises of God as we find them in Bible, as seen in our Old Testament lesson where God promised Abraham that he would have a descendant and through that descendant, his offspring would be as numerous as the sands on the seashore or the stars in the sky. Abraham trusted in God’s promise even though at the age of 100 he had no son, no offspring, but he had confidence in God’s word and as the text says in verse 6: "And he (Abraham) believed the Lord; and he (the Lord) reckoned it to him as righteousness."
Abraham believed in God’s promises and they came true. This is no easy circumstance having reliance in something as intangible as a promise. But Abraham did and we are asked to have the same kind of reliance in God’s written promises as we see in the Bible. The gospel message is indeed a promise for our lives in which we are asked to believe.