So our house has been on sale for almost three months now and we’ve only had 3-4 showings. I’m not stressed, I know that the house will sell in God’s good time. He is faithful and I trust that His plan is better than my plan. (check)
But two days ago something dawned on me, I wasn’t living like I expected anyone to come see the house. My philosophy (theology?) was that if anyone came to see the house, I would get it ready. They’re supposed to give us an hour notice, so that gives me some lee way, right? But what does that say about my faith? Am I ready for God to move? Nope, I was just being a slacker.
House selling is a great metaphor for Jesus’ return, don’t you think? We’re supposed to live like he could come back any time, but do we? Unlike house showings, we know that Jesus’ return will be a surprise. Scripture tells us several times that Christ’s return will be like a thief in the night (1 Th 5:2, 2 Pe 3:10, Mat 24:43, Rev 3:3).
Therefore you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. ~ Matthew 24:44 NET
We’ve all heard this challenge: If you knew Christ was coming today, what would you do differently?
Well, I would spend all the time on my knees in prayer while voraciously reading the Bible in between baking cookies to take to the neighbors to make sure they are saved. OK, not really–but you get the point.
To paraphrase, If I believed that a potential buyer could come view the house at any minute, what would I do?
I would clean it up and then move in with my mom so that it stayed that way. 😉
So perhaps those aren’t the correct questions. We can’t give up our God given responsibilities using the excuse of Christ’s return. Paul addressed this issue in 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15.
6 And now, dear brothers and sisters, we give you this command in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Stay away from all believers who live idle lives and don’t follow the tradition they received from us. 7 For you know that you ought to imitate us. We were not idle when we were with you. 8 We never accepted food from anyone without paying for it. We worked hard day and night so we would not be a burden to any of you. 9 We certainly had the right to ask you to feed us, but we wanted to give you an example to follow. 10 Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.”
11 Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business. 12 We command such people and urge them in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ to settle down and work to earn their own living. 13 As for the rest of you, dear brothers and sisters, never get tired of doing good.
14 Take note of those who refuse to obey what we say in this letter. Stay away from them so they will be ashamed. 15 Don’t think of them as enemies, but warn them as you would a brother or sister.
Dr. Ken Hanna from Dallas Theological Seminary, Houston, summarized it this way: “The false teaching prompted some believers to abandon productive work in anticipation of Christ’s soon return. Paul wrote to counteract the idleness and disruptive behavior of this minority in the church. It was necessary for Paul to remind them of the importance of watchful living and productive employment while they waited for the return of Christ (3:6-12). It was also necessary to provide instructions on how to discipline unruly members who might choose to disregard this letter from Paul (3:14-15).” – Thessalonians notes BE106, 2012
So, let’s rephrase those questions:
In light of our God given responsibilities, how should we live if Christ were returning today?
In light of the fact that we have to live in our house, how should I maintain it if a buyer were coming at any time?
The answer is simple, I need to keep my spiritual and physical house in order. But how do you do that? The same way I keep my physical house in order. I’ve started taking the kids from room to room before we leave the house to make sure the house is ready for showing. That analogy applies to our spiritual lives as well.
What do you need to do to clean up your spiritual house and/or keep it in order? How do you enlist your family to help you?