‘You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.’ Luke 12:40
Those Listening to Jesus’ teaching from the Gospel reading might think about how they can respond to him. How can responses be made our hearts, with hands, and through minds.
How can there be a response from the heart? Are hearts set on the right things?
The people listening to Jesus would have been encouraged and then alarmed at what Jesus told them.
In Saint Luke Chapter 12 Verse 32, there are words of reassurance, ‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.’
Imagine the feeling of joy in their hearts when they are told that God is going to give them his kingdom. Had Jesus stopped there, they would have gone away delighted, chatting among themselves as what it might mean to be given the kingdom.
If their hearts were uplifted by the promise of the kingdom, they probably felt altogether different after they heard what Jesus said next, in Verse 33 he tells them, ‘Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys’.
Jesus’ words run contrary to the teaching with which they had grown up, the teaching from the book of Deuteronomy which told them that being faithful would bring them wealth. The idea that faith might mean giving up what was dear to you, that it might mean self-sacrifice, would not have anymore popular then than it is now.
Jesus knows what they are thinking, and says to them, in Verse 40, ‘For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also’.
The people listening to Jesus would have been encouraged by the promise he makes, and then discouraged when they thought about what that promise demanded of them.
What does a response from the heart mean now?
Jesus says that if people really want to see what really matters in their lives, then they should look at how they spend their money. Where do Christians today spend their money?
How can there be a response through people’s hands? Are daily lived in a way that serves him?
Jesus tells his listeners that their daily life should be lived in a way that shows they are serving him, in Verse 35 he says to them, ‘Be dressed for action and have your lamps lit’.
Being a follower of Jesus must be something that shapes their daily lives.
In Verse 36, Jesus tells them what their lives should be like, ‘be like those who are waiting for their master to return from the wedding banquet, so that they may open the door for him as soon as he comes and knocks’.
Following Jesus is not something that can be done in one’s spare time, or when one remembers, it is something that influences every moment. Only those who live in such a way will be rewarded says Jesus in Verses 37-38, ‘Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them. If he comes during the middle of the night, or near dawn, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves’.
If the listeners were perplexed about giving up their money, they were probably even more worried at the thought that following Jesus would demand so much of their lives, that they should be like slaves waiting for their master.
How do people now respond to Jesus in their daily lives? It’s not very likely that anyone is like a slave waiting for the arrival of a master, but in one’s hands’ work, in all that is done, can others see that Jesus is being served?
Firstly, hearts, secondly, hands, and, thirdly, minds: how can people respond to Jesus in the way that they think?
Jesus tells his listeners that they should be constantly mindful that they are serving God and that, at any moment, he might call them to give account of how they have served him, that at any moment they might have give account of their lives. He compares failing to be constantly mindful of God to having a break-in at one’s house.
Jesus warns them, in Verse 39-40, ‘But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour’.
To be constantly alert meant thinking about God in every situation, it meant having a mind that always sought God’s way. Perhaps this was the most important thing for them, for once their minds were filled with God, their hands and their hearts would go in the right direction.
Few people now would think about God in the way that Jesus asks, few would be constantly mindful of his presence and his ways, few would be constantly alert.
Sometimes, it seems, most people are at the other extreme, that they are never ever mindful that they must answer to God.
Serving God with our hearts and hands would come much more easily, if he was sought firstly minds. Get the thinking right, then the right decisions and the right actions will follow. Only when it is realized that Jesus says that this is something urgent and something that important, will people have their minds in the right place.
Hearts and hands and minds: how is Jesus served?