“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!’”
You can do two things at the same time – not.
One of the great lies is that you can think about and do two different things at the same time. The short answer is that you can’t. You can only think about one thing at a time.
Now some will talk about being able to walk and talk or text at the same time. The reality is that you’re not doing two things at the same time. You’re actually going back and forth between the two things. You might be going back and forth quickly, but you’re going back and forth none the less.
Perhaps you’ve never thought of it this way, but this makes our thought life very precious. Since we only have so much time each and every day, this means that we only have time for so many thoughts during the day.
This is what Jesus is saying here. If we only have so much time, then we only have so much time for thinking. And we need to use these precious resources with care. Not wasting any.
Part of our careful and wise investment of time and thinking is to be used in watching. It’s not a waste of time, energy, money, or our precious thought life to use it for watching.
But watching for what? Or should I say, watching for who?
As you live, are you watching for God to show up in your life? Do you see God in the things that are happening all around you? Are you alert and thinking where and how God might be showing up in your life? In the life of your family? In the life of those around you?
Jesus says to be actively watching out for the return of the owner of the house. He’s talking to the people don’t actually own the house. Somebody else owns it. As owner, they have the right to make all the decisions about their land and the people who work on his property.
Did you see that it’s “his” land. “His” property. “His” workers? All the rights and responsibilities are with the owner, not the workers. They’re assigned jobs and tasks, but ownership, title, and rights belong to the owner.
This makes us people that are to watch. We’re not the watched for, we are the watchers. We are the workers, we are the servants, we are the employees. He is the owner; he is the landlord. It belongs to him, not us.
This smacks us right upside of the head. We think of ourselves as in charge.
I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.
Ernest Henley, Invictus (unconquered in Latin)
And when we think of being in charge, in control, we assume that we have the power. That people are to bow down to us. After all, if we’re in charge, they should treat us with great respect. Our time is more important and precious than theirs, so they should be on time for us. To be late is the second greatest insult. The greatest is when they butt in line in front of us.
When we watch, we put ourselves and all that we are under the rule of someone else. We trust our lives, our time, our most precious, private, and personal thoughts at their disposal. When we watch, we’re saying that even though we might not see anything happening, that you’re not only in control, but you might be doing things in the background.
If we can’t even hold two thoughts in our heads at the same time, how can we ever hope to compete with God? He knows everything. Sees everything. Hears everything. Is everywhere at the same time. He doesn’t have any such restrictions on thinking about only one thing at a time.
Jesus encourages us to invest our precious resources; time, attention, energy, and thinking. And a great way to invest them is to watch.
So, who am I watching for? Am I looking for the rich, powerful, influential to see us doing a good job? Do I want to be seen with them, so others will think better of us? So our reputation in the community will rise?
We are to watch for the owner. When he’s not around, no one seems to care. But he’s coming back. And when he arrives, he’ll make all things right. He won’t just refurbish ourselves and our lives, he’ll make them greater and more significant than you can imagine.
It will be well worth the watching.
Well worth the waiting.