Earlier this year I attended a conference titled: ‘The Kingdom and its King’, and a specific sermon Dominic Smart shared (and which I am reflecting upon now) dealt around being able to appropriately read, understand and apply the parables Jesus taught. He clarified that there are three main points presented in the parables. The first one being that there is always one main point that requires action and application. Secondly, the parables are not meant to be clear as they are designed to be sifted through. They are intended to reveal and hide to test if you get the Kingdom – understand it and listen with your heart. They reveal who controls your heart based on your level of understanding. The closer you are with God, the more he will reveal to you when you dutifully read and study His word, with all your heart. Thirdly, the parables speak of the Kingdom, eternal life. Parables underscore the type of relationship we have with God, forcing and confronting the issue of how we are going to live.
Every day we are moving closer to God’s Kingdom. Just imagine a tray. We are in the centre of this tray, and with every day that passes, we are getting closer to the edge. However we are constantly also living on the edge because Jesus may return at any moment, and it will BE in judgement – serious, final and sudden. The passage above from Matthew 24 highlights this:
FROM VS 42 – “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 must also be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him….”
So, what does it mean to be ready? It means being faithful and wise. This specific parable in Matthew also states what will happen when that hour arrives:
FROM VS 39b – “That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left….”
The important aspect to understand here is that those who are taken are those who will be judged; hence those who are left behind are in the refuge in the ark (mentioned earlier), which is metaphorical for Jesus and His saving Grace.
But how do we make ourselves ready? Jesus’ mission of making disciples and being a servant, now becomes ours. In ensuring that we are ready for His return we are to use the gifts, talents and interests he has given us to serve Him, allowing us to make disciples.
There are only two days on the calendar: ‘this day’ and ‘that day’. We have our plans, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen! We can’t live in tomorrow, can’t live in yesterday (because it’s GONE), but we can ONLY live in today and eternal life. So in which order should we live: ‘this day’ or ‘that day’? Our number one priority should be to live in ‘That Day’ (the return of Jesus), because it makes ‘this day’ happen as we live according to Him in servitude to ensure that we are ready for when He comes.
Lastly, it is important to understand God’s Kingdom more as a Kingship because it has no territory and is based on values, conduct, reign and JESUS!