All of Our Time is Oil In a Lamp
“Get dressed for service and keep your lamps burning; be like people waiting for their master to come back from the wedding celebration, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. Blessed are those slaves whom their master finds alert when he returns! I tell you the truth, he will dress himself to serve, have them take their place at the table, and will come and wait on them!
Even if he comes in the second or third watch of the night and finds them alert, blessed are those slaves! But understand 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, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
You can read this like it’s about the end of the world, and that’s fine, but it might lead you to burn out. “Lord! I’ve been prepared for 22 years! Return already!”
God doesn’t want you to be burnt out. He never intended the Christian walk to be a long string of anxiety or burden.
Do you have any “always answer” friends? These are the people that, when they call your phone, all you have to do is show the caller ID to your wife and you know you can drop everything and take the call? It’s a little inconvenient, but there is an importance with those people, right? There is a “take over my dish cleanup chores because this phone call is important to all of us right now” air about those callers.
One commentary I read said to put this teaching in the context of Jesus showing up in our lives every day. Look for ways, and be ready, for the Lord to come into your everyday situations. That changes it a lot from an end-of-the-world pressure. The Lord really does do that every day and He really wants to be seen!
So what about this serving bit? Jesus says the Master will come in and serve the slave? Somewhere else Jesus says the master won’t serve the slaves, so which is right?
Every parable dies out of context. The context of this was “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also,” so Jesus frames this parable as a reward. If you are alert and focused on the Kingdom of God on earth, you’ll enjoy the Kingdom’s rewards. That other parable is about humility, so the result of you serving is that you learn and experience pure, perfect humility and authority.
If we knew the Holy Spirit was going to burst into our lives every Thursday night at 7, we’d make time for it. The thing is, we don’t know that, so all too often we fill up our calendars or even our free time with a bunch of stuff.
If God was looking for an opening in our calendars, would He find time to call us? “Hmm, it looks like Dan’s going to be on Facebook from 8:30–9:15, then shop woot from 9:15–9:40, then read a long string of barely related Wikipedia posts from 9:40–11:42, I might try to drop in on him then.”
Let’s keep the right lamps burning and watch the Lord surprise us. It’s one of His favorite ways to spend time with us.
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