The Gospel of Mark: a commentary & meditation 
"Be watchful and pray"

Scripture:  Mark 13:33-37

33 Take heed, watch; for you do not know when the time will come.34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to be on the watch. 35 Watch therefore -- for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or at cockcrow, or in the  morning -- 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Watch."

Meditation:  What does the Lord expect from us and are we ready to meet his expectations? The Lord Jesus told a story that was familiar to his followers -- the necessity for laborers to be ready for action and ready to give their best when the master returned from his journey. Were these servants excited or anxious about their master's return? The watchful servants looked forward to the future because they knew their master would be pleased and would reward them for their vigilance and hard work. Disaster and reprisal, however, awaited those who were unprepared because of carelessness or laziness.

The prophet Isaiah tells us that God will surely reward those who wait for him: "From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who works for those who wait for him" (Isaiah 64:4). Our Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, entrusts us with his gifts and grace and he expects to be ready for action and prepared for the future.  Our call is not only believe, but to watch; not only to love, but to watch; not only to obey, but to watch! What are we to watch for?  The greatest event to come --the return of  our Master and Lord Jesus Christ when he comes again in glory at the end of the age. The kind of watching our Lord has in mind is not a passive "wait and see what happens" approach to life.  The Lord urges us to vigilance and to active prayer that his "kingdom may come" and his "will be done on earth as it is in heaven".  We are not only to watch for Christ, but to watch with Christ.  The Lord wants us to have our hearts and minds fixed on him and his word.  He wants us to be ready for his action and grace in our lives and in our world. Those who "wait" for the Lord will not be disappointed.  He will surely come with his grace and saving help. Do you watch for the Lord's action in your life with expectant faith and with joyful hope?

"Lord, awaken my heart and mind to receive your word and to prepare for your coming again.  Free me from complacency, from the grip of sin and worldliness, and from attachments to things which pass away.  May I always be eager to receive your word and be ready to meet you when you came again."

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 (c) 2000 Don Schwager