There is nothing like an unexpected guest to get everyone cleaning up the mess.
Our home was rarely messy when we were growing up. But sometimes "messy" depends on who is coming to the house. One Saturday afternoon when Billy Graham was holding a crusade in Milwaukee we got a call from one of his staffers. "Would it be possible for Dr. Graham to retreat to your home for a few hours to get away from the relentless nature of his public life?" My mother said, "Why, of course. We'd love to have him. What day would he like to come?"
"How about in two hours?"
Major panic. Mom hung up the phone and immediately assembled all the children. We scrubbed and scoured, and picked up and primed every inch of the home. Then we were sent upstairs to shower and dress "appropriately" (our wardrobe choices demonstrated the fact that we weren't clear on the definition of that term).
When the great preacher finally arrived, we were summoned into the living room where we all sat staring at him. My mom sat down next to him crossing her legs, leaning in to show interest and concern. We had pulled it off, almost. A few minutes later the doorbell rang. My mom popped up to answer it-not realizing that her leg had fallen asleep. The numb leg gave way sending her right onto the lap of Billy Graham. In the frenzied preparation, this unexpected guest literally had us "falling all over him." It was the highlight of the day and has become a family legend, but here's the point: Be ready.
"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." (Matthew 24:42-44)
Jesus is coming back physically, and it could be really soon. How then should we live? In major frenzy to get our "house" cleaned up? In continual fear that He's going to be really ticked with us when He shows up? In paranoia that we might be caught unprepared? If we aren't careful, the ominous reality of the second coming of Christ could frighten us out of a grace-based peace into a self-propelled panic.
So how then should we live? Paul puts it in full perspective:
May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it. (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24)
The truth is that Christ is already here, not physically, yet, but His Spirit lives in us. Being aware of that and living in Him is the secret to being ready for the day He comes back to rule and reign physically.
Jesus, thank You that, in You, I will be found blameless when You return. Give me a consistent perspective that looks to THAT day, more so than today. Amen.