Matthew 24:42-51, and 25:1-2.
We live in the in-between time–Christ has come, and will come again. Meanwhile, we wait. As we wait, we will live through tribulations, we will walk through the valley of the shadow of death, and we will also have seasons of quiet living, mundane, peaceful days. Regardless-He is with us! In us. And blessed are those who live in light of that!
“Blessed is that slave whom his master finds [faithfully serving] when he comes.”
We cannot grow weary now. We remain alert. We cannot turn off our compassion for His people, for His kingdom, or for the works He has called us to. The Master in this parable is God, and He has given His people work to do in this waiting time. We must be about His Kingdom work, even in light of changes to our routines and regular rhythms of life. We serve as He has instructed in His Word.
Faithful and sensible?
In this parable, are you one of the faithful and sensible servants of the God? How can you, here and now, be faithful? By abiding in Him. How can you be sensible? By abiding in Him. He has told you what is good. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. We are not sensible by listening to too many news sources. We are not sensible by making rash decisions. We are sensible, sober minded, as we remain with Him, listen to Him, and walk in the Spirit. A good meditation for this season would be 1 Peter 1:13 and 4:7.
Matthew 25:1-13 There are foolish people, and prudent people. Either/or. Prudent people have taken heed to the wisdom God offers and it becomes manifest by their actions. In this parable, the foolish people do not prepare for what is coming. Think of the ant who knows winter is coming, and she works diligently in summertime to fill the anthill with provisions. The five prudent people have lamps and oil for the waiting days. They wait. They know not when the Bridegroom is coming, but they do not sit around like the sluggard expecting some agency to take care of them. They listen, and are ready to meet their Bridegroom.
Prudent people in this parable are marked by their planning ahead, purchasing wisely, preparing for upcoming events though they know not when the event will arise, and they stay awake. What kingdom work has Jesus given you to do before He comes again? Are you going to leave off now that adversity has struck? Are you going to walk in wisdom, though your physical walking about is restricted?
As His faithful servants, we are called to believe, to abide, to be fruitful–in and out of season.
John 6 believe.
Do not believe anything, just whatever we invent in our own minds. Rather, believe Him, believe His words. Believe in Him. Believe your life is hidden in Christ.
Meditate especially on verses 29, 47, 63:
“This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.” “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.” “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
John 15 abide
Dwell and rest and remain in Him; He cleanses and makes us fruitful. Fruitful even in troubled times. He might use this time to prune away flesh, prune away worldly notions we cling to. The focus we should have is not on the pruning and trying to figure out “what is He teaching me through this.” Rather, focus on the Master Gardener, on the life that comes from abiding in the Vine, and the fruitfulness that follows His care and pruning.
John 16:33 Tribulation, turmoil, hard times
In this world we have tribulation and difficulty and messes and confusion and sickness and all manner of disheartening affairs. “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
Take heart!!! Abide in His joy and peace (Romans 15:13). Take heed to what He has spoken, for therein He grants peace, flourishing, shalom, well-being.
As women, we are helpers, lifegivers–science has shown that in times of distress is it more likely that women will care for others while the “fight or flight” hormones are raging.
Even more reason we need to heed the call to: Be sober minded 1 Peter 4:7; 1:13. Be sensible Titus 2:5
Only abiding in His truth will fortify us for this season. His truth will ground us, calm us, guide us. Being sensible is not going to come from reading all the news–you can find articles to say “chill out” and others that induce panic; some say this is not a big deal, comparing it to the flu; others say it is a big deal, comparing it to the flu. Our sober mindedness will come from Christ–not from the world. (which Proverbs will help us?). We are to be servants of Christ sharing this peace, this sober mindedness, this shalom.
Most Epistles also speak to this season. This is not exhaustive, just a few other favorites of mine; very :
1 Thessalonians 1:9-10
1 Thessalonians 5:15-18
2 Corinthians 5:1-9; 14-15
To close, a psalm to remind us to pray.
“Because of the devastation of the afflicted, because of the groaning of the needy, now I will arise,” says YHWH; “I will set him in the safety for which he longs.”
Much like the groaning mentioned in Romans 8 and 2 Corinthians 5…when we can’t seem to put too many words to the emotions and thoughts we are having–we need only groan, and trust the Spirit to utter a prayer too deep for words.
But what is this promise, to be set in the safety for which we long? It is not an escape from the world; it is not an escape from the consequences of ignorant actions (i.e. this prayer is not license to be foolish and put others at risk); it is not an absence of sickness or any other form of tribulation. Remember earlier, we are promised tribulation, joy and peace simultaneously.
The safety of our souls is secure, and the knowledge that the Sovereign God and King of the Universe is listening and will act should bring us a taste of His joy and peace. How will He act? We know not–He is not our puppet, and His ways are higher than ours. We do not demand a certain outcome. Faith is not believing God will do what I say. Faith is believing that God will fulfill His promises–it is believing that He is still Who He has revealed Himself to be. (Visit Romans 4:16-21)