Summary: This sermon was used on Stewardship Sunday. The Gospel message is to motovate people to support God’s work in the church
What are you waiting for?
Last Sunday of the church year
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen
Mark 13:32-37 32 "No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 33 Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. 34 It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with his assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. 35 "Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back-- whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. 36 If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. 37 What I say to you, I say to everyone: ’Watch!’"
Every time I read those passages, I want to ask God, “What are you waiting for? I am ready God; end this world with all of its hunger, disease, cruelty, and pain. Come take all of those who believe in you home, so we can spend eternity with you, free of pain, sorrow, and hardships.”
But too many times, as I get busy living my life, I forget God’s words in the rest of the passage, verses 33 “Be on guard! Be alert”! and in verse 37, “What I say to you, I say to everyone: Watch”. In Greek, the words guard, alert, and watch, as they are used in the context of this text are imperatives, that is, they are commands. They are not suggestions or just good advice. They are God’s words to us. We are to do them.
Even knowing that, too many times I forget those commands. Why sometimes, I believe that if God were to tell me he is coming back, I might answer, “God, can you put it off a little longer? You know how busy I am. Your coming back just does not fit into my schedule. Tell you what God, let me check my calendar and see when we can get together. How about coming back next Tuesday at 11pm? By that time I will have finished watching Leno, said my prayers and I am ready for bed. Yes, I think I can work you in at eleven, next Tuesday.”
I know that what I just said sounds silly, but I am afraid that for too many people who consider themselves Christians, what I just said is probably closer to the truth than they would like to think it is. They are so busy, that they just do not have time to squeeze God into their schedule. Oh, they might give God some time on Sunday morning, but the service better not run much longer than an hour, because that is all the time they have allotted for worship. To give God more time, for say, Bible study is just not going to work into their schedule.
Why is it that Christians, who profess their faith in Jesus Christ, do not live their lives in preparation, watching for Jesus’ return, since we have his command, “To be on guard, to be alert, to watch”?” As I thought about what appears to be our inability to do what God would demand of us, I came up with what I believe is the answer for why we act the way we do. The problem is that because we are sinful human beings, we have a tendency to believe that God will not come back in our lifetime. After all, it has been almost 1800 years since the command to be on guard, to be alert, to watch was written. It has not happened yet, why would it happen now? What is the use in our waiting expectantly for Jesus’ return? We will always have time, won’t we?
Whenever we ask the question of God, “What are you waiting for?” whether we ask it out of impatience or unbelief, it ends up in the trash heap of condemnation along with all of our other faulty questions, reasoning, and excuses.
If anyone should ask the question, it should be God. He ought to ask us, “What are you waiting for?” We need to be reminded of our inability to reach out to God on our own. We need to look deep inside ourselves, to see what, or who it is that is keeping us from being on guard, being alert, watching for his return. We need to know without a doubt that he is our Savior, that he is the only way for us to be saved from the eternal punishment of our sins, a punishment that we all deserve.