Sunday's Sermon (Print Copy)

 

"Working and Watching"

 by Pastor Wayne

November 29, 2020 - 1st Sunday in Advent - B

 

Sermon text: “It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch.” – Mark 13:34

 

Jesus came to this world about two thousand years ago.

For thirty-three years he walked this earth –

                  teaching, healing, comforting, guiding.

Then after his death and resurrection, Jesus went away.

He ascended into heaven.

But one day he will come again.

One day Jesus will return.

 

Today begins the season of Advent.

Advent is a very important time for Christians.

Advent is a word that literally means “coming.”

Many people at this time of year

                  are busy preparing for the coming of Christmas.

But the Bible readings of Advent calls us to prepare

                  for a much more important coming...

                           the second coming of our Lord.

The second advent of our Lord

                  is by far the one most important thing

                           for which we all need to be prepared.

For one day our Lord will come again

                  to judge all people

                           and to gather his family into his heavenly home.

 

In our gospel reading today, Jesus tells us:

         “Beware, keep alert;

                  for you do not know when the time will come.

         It will be like a man going on a journey,

                  when he leaves home and puts his slaves in charge,

                           each with his work,

                  and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch.”

Jesus is our master.

We are his servants.

Our Master has gone away, but one day he will return again.

In the meantime,

         our master tells us we need to be doing two things –

                  working and watching.

 

Working means doing the work of our Master.

Some of that work we heard about in our gospel reading last week.

Some of the important work our master wants us to be doing is:

         feeding the hungry...

         giving drink to the thirsty...

         welcoming the stranger...

         clothing the poor...

         caring for the sick…

         and visiting the prisoners.

 

Some of the important work our master wants us to be doing

         includes the obvious religious work….

                  teaching in Sunday School…

                  or helping a neighbor in need…

                  or telling others about Jesus…

                  or reading the Bible and saying our prayers.

And some of the important work that our Master gives us

                  are our everyday tasks:

         caring for a child…

         or harvesting crops…

         or teaching students…

         or waiting on customers…

         or cooking food…

         or working in an office…

         or building a house…

         or caring for a patient…

         or working in a factory.

Our daily work is also a very important way that we serve God

                  by serving our neighbor.

 

 

Our Master has given us many ways to be doing his work.

Along with working,

         the other thing that we need to be doing is watching

                  watching for the return of our Lord.

One day Jesus is going to come again.

We don’t know when that will happen.

It could be today or tomorrow or next week or next year

                  or far into the future.

But we need to be watching for his return each and every day.

Because one day, Jesus will come again!

        

So we need to be both working and watching.

 

There are two mistakes we can make about this.

One is to be only working without watching.

The other mistake is to be watching without working.

 

Some Christians down through the centuries

         have tried to pin-point the time of the second coming.

Some of them have even sold all their possessions,

         and waited on hilltops at the appointed time.

They watched and they watched and they watched.

But, of course, Jesus never did come.

Their predictions were all wrong.

 

It is not possible for us to know when Jesus will come again.

In our gospel reading for today, Jesus says:

                  “...you do not know when the time will come.”

But even if we could figure out when Jesus will come again

         it would be wrong for us to abandon our work

                  and to be sitting around watching for his return.

 

Jesus wants us to be watching and working.

 

The other mistake that we can make

                  is to be focused completely on our working

                           and forget about watching for the return of Jesus.

This is probably the error most of us are guilty of making.

We get all caught up in doing our daily work

                  and forget about watching for the return of Jesus.

But according to our Master Jesus we need to be doing both –

         working and watching.

 

I recently read about a meeting of state legislators.

It was a meeting in New England back in the early 1800’s.

While the meeting was going on, it suddenly became very dark.

The cause was an eclipse.

But the legislators didn’t know what was going on

                  and many of them panicked.

Some thought that it might be the end of the world

            and thought that the meeting should adjourn immediately.

But one of them said,

      “Mr. Speaker, if it is not the end of the world and we adjourn,

                  we shall appear to be fools.

      If it is the end of the world,

            I should choose to be found doing my duty.

      I make a motion that candles be brought into the room

            and that we continue with our work.”

 

Yes, Jesus would have us be doing our work

            when he comes for us again.

 

May our Lord find us doing the work

                  that he has given  each one of us.

One day, our Master will return.

Until that day, it is of utmost importance

         that we are both “working and watching.”

 

      Amen.