I thought she was coming home Friday; but she decided she needed to stay. I thought she would come home on Sunday; but she again felt the need to stay. She may come home tomorrow. Or it may be the next day. I’m not exactly certain when it will be. But I know her return is near. And for this reason, I have worked like a proverbial Trojan to keep the house in order!
Each day, the beds are made. The cat is fed. My meals are cooked and then the kitchen is immediately cleaned. The clothes are kept washed and folded. The yard has been mowed. In general, the house is straight and in order. I dare not let her come home and find a mess!
And why is this? Is it because I fear her wrath at finding things out of order? You’d better believe it!!! No, not really. I work hard to keep the house in order and ready for her arrival because I know how hard she has worked to care for my sister. While she has been there, she has been busy doing all the same things there that I have been doing here.
In so doing, she has been showing her love to one in need. And I do not want her to come home and sense that I am in any way unappreciative of her sacrifice. More importantly, I want her to know that I love her! And if keeping the house in order in anticipation of her return in any way communicates that love, I willingly undertake that.
All of this has overtones for my faith. According to the New Testament Book of Ephesians (chapter 5), as a Christian, I am a part of the Church, the Bride of Jesus Christ. When He departed some two thousand years ago “to prepare a place” in His Father’s House, or Heaven, for all who follow Him, He promised that He would come again to take us to that wonderful place.
The Apostle John put it this way (chapter 14, verses 1-6):
1“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. 4You know the way to the place where I am going.”
5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jesus also said that no man knows the day or hour of His return. Indeed, only the Heavenly Father knows when this will be. Thus, it behooves us to be prepared at any moment. One might put it this way: we would do well to keep our spiritual house in order, for we know not when He will come again!
Years ago, the renowned publication Our Daily Bread carried the following:
The word "maranatha" is a Syriac expression that means: "our Lord comes." It was used as a greeting in the early church. When believers gathered or parted, they didn't say "hello" or "goodbye" but "Maranatha!" If we had the same upward look today, it would revolutionize the church. O that God's people had a deepening awareness of the imminent return of the Savior!
While on a South Pole expedition, British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton left a few men on Elephant Island, promising that he would return. Later, when he tried to go back, huge icebergs blocked the way. But suddenly, as if by a miracle, an avenue opened in the ice and Shackleton was able to get through. His men, ready and waiting, quickly scrambled aboard. No sooner had the ship cleared the island than the ice crashed together behind them. Contemplating their narrow escape, the explorer said to his men, "It was fortunate you were all packed and ready to go!" They replied, "We never gave up hope. Whenever the sea was clear of ice, we rolled up our sleeping bags and reminded each other, 'The boss may come today.'"
The hymn writer Horatius Bonar exhorted us "to be ready for the last moment by being ready at every moment...so attending to every duty that, let Him come when He may, He finds the house in perfect order, awaiting His return." The trump may sound anytime. How important for us as Christians to be "packed and ready to go!"
As you leave home today, don't say goodbye -- say "Maranatha!"
STORY SOURCE: Available widely on the internet. See, for instance: https://bible.org/illustration/south-pole-expedition.
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: http://biblehub.com/niv/john/14.htm.