Living with the End in View involves
Serving with Expectation of Jesus’ Return
Let your waist be girded and your lamps burning; and you yourselves be like men who wait for their master, when he will return from the wedding, that when he comes and knocks they may open to him immediately.
Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching. Assuredly, I say to you that he will gird himself and have them sit down to eat, and will come and serve them. (Luke 12:35–37)
The Hebrews girded themselves by tying the lower part of their robes to their waists so their feet may be unencumbered. The lamps were kept burning, ready to give light in the home, perhaps, in this case, when the master returned with his new bride. The waiting men will join in the festivities and eat with the guests as their master girds himself and serves them.
This is not the only time the Lord commanded His followers to act like servants anticipating their master’s return. But here Jesus adds the detail that the master will serve the waiting servants!
Let’s consider three details we are commanded to follow: our waists girded, our lamps burning, and waiting for the master.
The servants needed to have their waists girded so their robes would not trip them up as they hurried from task to task to prepare the home. I have tripped myself up repeatedly as I busied myself with things that could wait. I needed to help my son with his homework, but watched the news instead. I needed to cut the overgrown lawn to keep it regulation height, but I chose to read a book. There’s nothing “wrong” with watching television or reading. But those things made it harder to keep up with my greater responsibilities. My mind was not on helping others or keeping the mobile home park rules, but serving myself.
The servants’ lamps were to remain lit. It wouldn’t do for the master to return with his bride to a dark home! Their master’s sure return motivated them to work and be found in a good light at his return. In most cases, new believers find it difficult to be motivated by someone they cannot see or feel. So the passage speaks of those who have grown in their faith. They have come to know their Lord and what He wants them to do. They have a conviction that they will meet Him some day.
I remembered my early days of service and how little I honored the Lord in my attitudes. I volunteered to set up chairs for the services. Over the years many negative thoughts arose which I had to fight. “They don’t set up the chairs the way I would. The leaders don’t see the good work I am doing. The other volunteers are too slow or too late.” During this time, the Lord revealed His great mercy and grace in accepting me, a man of pride, to serve in His house. My heart was broken in shame that I had not treated others with the same compassion. From that point on, I slowly began to accommodate the weaknesses of others.
My early service also taught me to be alert. Jesus gave His all for me, and I wanted to reciprocate. I wanted to be on time and be thorough in my duties, whether it was cleaning the kitchen at the rented building where we met for services or sweeping the leaves off the sidewalk. When I was given greater responsibility to oversee the building, I grew more alert to what needed to be done and took personal responsibility to see that things ran smoothly. I prayed for wisdom and strength to continue in my tasks to the end (especially when I was tempted to give up or cut corners), and in doing so, I gradually discovered His strength and presence with me. I extended that faithfulness to my roles at my job and home, which only sharpened the sense of His presence day by day, as my prayers for strength and wisdom were regularly answered.
We can’t live for someone we don’t know. So give attention to turning your heart to Him again and again for prayer and praise. Devote time to learning of the Lord in His Word so you can adjust to His ways. It’s a mark of spiritual maturity when we serve in anticipation of His return.
Living with the end in view involves serving the Lord with anticipation.
Steps of faith:
Consider what distracts you from the Lord’s work and how you may guard against it.
Pray that the Lord reveal Himself to you in the Word.