Imagine you leave your three kids home one day while you go out to run errands. Before you leave, you give them each a detailed list of things to do while you’re gone. They don’t know how long you’ll be gone – and are encouraged to get their work done first, before they enjoy some playtime.
Now fast-forward several hours. You’ve been busy running around town, meeting people and taking care of business. You finally finish your list for the day, head home, and unlock the door.
You walk in to find one child sitting at the kitchen table, diligently working on the next day’s homework. Her duties included sweeping the kitchen floor, emptying the dishwasher, and taking the trash out. And guess what? The kitchen is sparkling! She not only did what you asked, but went beyond and wiped down the fridge, cleaned the spot of jam off the floor, and straightened up the piles on the counters. And she was still working, taking care of something else that needed to be done.
You head into the next room to find your son sitting on the floor, watching cartoons on tv. You ask him gently if he did his work, and he shrugs his shoulders. A quick glance around shows a messy pile of books on the end table, a few pieces of sock fuzz on the floor, and a dusty coffee table with handprints swiped across it. It looks like he spent about five minutes doing what you asked, and then plopped down to relax.
You have to go searching for child number three. You find him in his bedroom; and when you open the door, he jumps up and stuff a magazine under his pillow. Not only did he not clean his room like you asked, he was reading something completely inappropriate. Something he received from a friend at school – that was going promptly out to the garbage!
So I ask you, which of these three would you be most pleased with? I hope you’d say the first child, who not only completed her list but was still being productive and enterprising.
Jesus spoke of a similar situation in Matthew 24. His story was about a household whose master had gone away for a long while. Some of the servants stayed busy and faithful while he was gone; others did their own thing, squandering their own time and their master’s resources. The key thing was that they did not know when he would return.
They couldn’t wait until the last few days, and then catch up on everything that needed to be done. They had to keep the house in order all the time, keep everything stocked at all times, remain faithful at their jobs every single moment.
And when the master finally returned, unannounced and unexpectedly, those who were doing what he asked were rewarded! And those who weren’t, were punished severely.
Who then is the faithful and wise servant,
whom his master has set over his household, to give them their food at the proper time?
Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes.
Christ, our heavenly Master, may return at any time. He may call us home to Himself at any time. We don’t know when our last day or minute will be. And what are we doing in the meantime? What are we staying busy with?
Are you like that third child, who chose to spend his time doing something he knew was wrong, and was ashamed to have you find him?
Or are you more like that second child, who half-heartedly did a little of what he was supposed to do, then decided to get comfortable and just do what he pleased.
Or are you most like the first child, who was obedient and faithful the entire time, doing more than what was expected of her, giving more of her time and energy than was asked of her?
What are you staying busy with? Are you remaining faithful to Christ, obedient at all times? Or are you squandering your time, thinking you’ll have time later to do what He’s commanded?
Would Jesus be pleased with how you’re living, whenever He calls you home? Or would you be ashamed to have Him find you where you are? What’s keeping you busy?
QUESTION for YOU: What tends to distract you from doing what you should? Media, friends, kids, general busyness? How have you learned to face those distractions more efficiently?