Sharing today from Unlocking the Bible.
We’ve all heard some version of the question, “If today was your last day on earth, what would you do?” The question is designed to get us thinking about what truly matters and what doesn’t.
There is a helpfulness to this question, I suppose. I certainly don’t want to spend my last day before seeing Jesus perfecting my yo-yo technique or binge-watching Dora the Explorer.
But to be frank, I find the “last day” question paralyzing. It’s overwhelming to consider all the things that could possibly be done. How does one decide what’s the most effective, impactful, God-honoring thing to do when your toes are on the precipice of eternity? How could I know if it’s better to sneak into North Korea—should it even be possible—and preach the gospel, or to track down all my unsaved friends and family so I can preach the gospel to them? Maybe I should also drain my life savings so I can give it away—but who should I give it to?
I have no idea how to answer these questions. Besides, thinking about the most effective thing to do on your last day seems to me like the silly meme that gets shared online: “Jesus is coming; look busy.”
Does being prepared for the second coming of Christ merely involve some extraordinary acts of obedience moments before he returns?
According to Jesus, it doesn’t.
What Does It Mean to Be Ready for Jesus’ Return?
In the Gospels, Jesus frequently charges his followers to stay ready for his return. One such place is Luke 12:35-48. Through a couple short parables about different kinds of servants, Jesus illustrates for his disciples what it means to be ready.
Stay Dressed for Action
In this passage—contra the logic of the “last day” question—being prepared for Jesus’ return means doing the kinds of things appropriate for your context, however ordinary and mundane they might seem. If you’re a teacher, be found grading midterms to the glory of God. If you’re a Christian who works in a factory, be found working until the whistle blows.
Jesus commands, “Stay dressed for action and keep your lamps burning” (v. 35). The literal rendering of the phrase “stay dressed for action” is, “let your loins stay girded.” Back in the day, to have your loins girded meant that a man was ready to work because he had pulled his long, flowing robe around to the front and tied it tight so that it wouldn’t interfere with action.