While I was in Russia one of the highlights of the year was the week of “Pensioner Meetings” that was held the week leading up to Christmas. During this week we held 10 meetings hosting between 150 and 300 retired educators that had been hand picked by the Department of Education. Most of these people were women, often widows, who lived alone on a meager $30 a month. In the few moments that we had with them we did our best to treat them like queens and to prepare their hearts to hear the gospel message that would be given. Planning for the event started months in advance. Choirs were assembled, music was specially arranged, menus were planned, carpets were cleaned, decorations were hung (with a light on the tip of each branch of each tree and the cords all neatly hidden, and the garlands that hung about the wall measured and spaced and fluffed to perfection.) Nothing was left undone. The tables were set with special china, then each row was plumb-lined: tables, chairs, candles, coke bottles. Every plate was checked to make sure it was the right distance from the edge of the table, every tea spoon laid just so across the saucer. Everything was perfect. From the moment the buses arrived carrying their precious cargo there was not a minute of time to be lost. At the average meeting I would start by taking their coats in the coat room and leading the occasional lost guest to the registration area and the dining room beyond. When all the coats had been taken, it was on to the kitchen to fill plates with speed and precision. Once this was done, if seats remained a few minutes could be spent in conversation with our guests until the time had come to hurry off to line up for the program… Often we held two meetings a day, sometimes the buses for the second group were waiting before the buses from the first group had even left. The week was full of activity and always full of precious moments spent with these dear people, but one thing that it did not boast was an excess of  sleep.

Mark 13:32 wandered across my path this morning and got me to thinking. Speaking of Christ’s return it says, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.” I think of all the preparation that was spent in getting ready to receive the pensioners, of all of the effort and of the joy that it brought. And then I think of heaven seemingly not preparing for the revelation of the Son. It seems odd at first, but then I remember that Scripture speaks of Christ as a bridegroom coming to receive His bride and I remember the anticipation of my brothers-in-law before their wedding day. They didn’t do all of the shopping and the planning (or the stressing!), that was left to my sisters, but when the day came they were ready! When they were told it was time to take their place at the altar, they were there. Like a couple who has already packed their bags in anticipation of the birth of their child – Heaven is ready! The Son is ready to step out on the clouds and to gather His own!

Will He find us so? The remainder of the passage says, “Take ye heed, watch and pray: for ye know not when the time is. For the Son of man is as a man taking a journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch. Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.”

“To every man his work…Watch ye therefore…lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.” How sad it would have been if, when my brothers-in-law stepped up to the altar, they found that nothing had been done in preparation for the wedding day. And if, when making inquiry, they found that it was because their bride had been sleeping. How will Christ find us? Will He find us about the work He has given us, or will He find us sleeping?

And here is a thought to encourage all of us single ladies that still hope and dream of a bridegroom of our own some day: Whether or not God gives us an earthly bridegroom, we know that we do have a Bridegroom that WILL come for us. There is a wedding to prepare for, watch and work and pray!



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