About 12 years ago, my wife and I watched a special about home safety on TV. Our children at the time were toddlers and we were woefully unprepared for mishaps and accidents. So, following the direction of the show, we set out to make our home a safer place.
We bought plastic plugs for our electrical outlets. We checked the batteries on our smoke alarms. We strategically placed fire extinguishers throughout our home. We purchased two first aid kits — one for the kitchen and the other for our van. We even stocked up on essential provisions in case of a hurricane.
We were ready.
Last year, as we remodeled our kitchen, I noticed something. The strategically placed fire extinguisher was still sitting next to the stove. But now it was covered in grease and dust. I took it outside to see if it would work.
I opened the cupboard and pulled out the first aid kit. It was empty. Our provisions for hurricanes were either used up or had expired in 2011. Only two outlets in the entire house still had plastic plugs.
The fact that we were well prepared 12 years earlier did us little good. We were once again woefully unprepared.
Jesus tells us again and again in his Word to be ready. He is coming. He is coming to judge the living and the dead.
We will all eventually have to face God the Judge — either on the day of our death or at Jesus’ coming at the end of the world.
And we don’t know what day that will be.
So be ready. God’s judgment is real.
He hates sins and we have a lot of them. God punishes sin with hell. To be woefully unprepared for Judgment Day is both foolish and dangerous.
Thankfully, Jesus has provided us with the provisions we need to be prepared. Through his Word and Sacraments, he assures us of the forgiveness he won for us on the cross. Through his Word and Sacraments, he gives us faith to trust in him. If you have faith in Jesus, you are forgiven and heaven is yours. If you have faith in Jesus, you are prepared for when he comes.
But Jesus doesn’t just tell us to be prepared. He also says, “Keep watch!” Be vigilant. Stay ready. The fact that you are prepared right now, doesn’t guarantee that you will be ready 12 years from now.
Just like I need to regularly maintain our fire extinguishers and restock our first aid kits, so we need to regularly maintain our faith. Faith needs to be fed. Don’t rest on your laurels. Don’t trust in the fact that you went to church when you were a kid or that you used to go 12 years ago.
One of the greatest tricks the devil pulls is to get us so busy we don’t take the time to regularly feed our faith with God’s Word and Sacraments.
Don’t be afraid. If you believe in Jesus as your Savior, you are ready when he comes.
He is coming to take you to heaven. But understand that faith needs to be maintained. It needs to be fed. Faith can be lost. It can be forgotten.
So be careful. The fact that you are ready today doesn’t guarantee that you will be ready 12 years from now. Keep watch.
Regularly feed your faith. Stay ready.
Because ready or not, here he comes.