“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes. “Two men will be working together in the field; one will be taken, the other left. Two women will be grinding flour at the mill; one will be taken, the other left. “So you, too, must keep watch! For you don’t know what day your Lord is coming. Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would keep watch and not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected. “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. But what if the servant is evil and thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. – Matthew 24:36-51 (NLT)
Jesus wants to really set down a pattern of behavior for his disciples, so he goes into four straight parables about making sure those who follow him are ready for his return because we do not know the day or the hour of his second coming. He first begins by telling the difference between a true and false follower of Jesus. The false disciple will say, “My master will be gone for a long, long time, so I am able to do whatever I want in the moment.” This person is driven not by obedience and love of the master but by the desires of the heart. Jesus calls this person wicked. The faithful servant will do exactly what the master asks if the master is there or not because of loyalty to and love of the master. The meaning is clear, whether Jesus is around us or not, we need to obey and follow him.
Write or reflect about a time when you had authority and were not respected by a spouse, coworker, child. How did it make you feel? As we are made in God’s image, what do you think God’s response is when we do not obey him? Spend some time asking God to help you to be a more faithful servant of him.