“But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard! Be alert ! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch.
“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’ ” Mar 13:32-37
As I get older, I find that it gets more difficult to stay alert. I feel dull. I don’t have the same energy level.
For instance, yesterday a young sister, Misha, told me the story of the time in her life when she was studying the Bible. One night her apartment was broken into, and she was so upset. Her friend who was studying the Bible with her, whom she hadn’t known long, came right over and supported her for several hours. It made such a difference in Misha’s life that someone she didn’t even know that well would care so much about her.
As I heard this story, I thought, “That’s what we need to do. I want to do that. But I feel tired and dull. These days I often let those kinds of opportunities to love and serve my friends slip through my fingers because I am not alert.”
So how do we stay alert when life is so distracting, and our energy levels wane? I think one major way is to pray. For the last few days I have REALLY been praying. I’ve felt like my kids needed extra prayer — there’s a lot going on in their lives — so I decided that I wasn’t going to eat or drink anything but water in the mornings until I had a great focused prayer time. It has made such a difference.
I am remembering that the best time in prayer is after the first 15 or 20 minutes, when I’ve gone through all of my prayer requests for everyone. Then I start to be more quiet and listen to God. Then my heart starts to remember what is really important to God. (And it’s not my agenda!) Then I find peace and inspiration. I have a better perspective on life and my day to come. I’m even re-energized!
Here’s one story for today. I am far from perfect, but I did prayerfully consider what I should do this week. One thing that came to mind is that Ken and I need to visit his nephew, who is now stationed at Fort Benning. It took a little bit of being intentional and reaching out, but the result was that last night we took the nephew and his new wife out to dinner. We had such a wonderful time!! We saw their lovely new apartment. We got to know them both, and really enjoyed finding out what great people they are.
It reminded me of how important it is to get out of my routine and make the effort to do the extra things.
That’s what watching and being alert is to me. It’s praying and keeping my eyes open for opportunities, then praying some more to have the energy and means to take those opportunities!
What does the word “watch” mean literally, in the Greek? It means to “be awake.” To me, life is a constant battle of trying to stay awake. I just keep on wanting to curl up somewhere and get comfortable and check out. Especially when it’s cold and rainy outside!
Let’s pray, and allow God to “wake us up” every morning. He has so many great things to teach us, so many great opportunities for us to take.
The Sovereign LORD has given me a well-instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being instructed. Isa 50:4