This past weekend Dennis and I spent hours in our large yard weed-eating, blowing debris, pruning, fertilizing and more.
We have guests coming.
What is it about guests that inspires this kind of labor? Yes, it is an important and influential group–our FamilyLife board of directors, men who have significant responsibilities in companies and churches. Yet these men and their wives have been our friends for over 20 years, so our efforts were not born out of a need to impress.
There is within most of us a heart to welcome well, to prepare a warm inviting entrance to our guests so they will exhale any stress when they arrive and inhale the peace and presence of Christ, the God of all order.
As I was pondering this sprucing up cycle we have repeated for countless guests over our 40 years of marriage I remembered another kind of welcome I am preparing.
My Bible reading in the last few months has centered on the return of Christ, which I believe could happen in my lifetime. This Guest will not be impressed with a neat and tidy house and yard, but desires that the house of His habitation, my body, soul and heart be ready for His appearing.
He tells me and He tells you that His coming will be a surprise, so “Stay dressed for action, and keep your lamps burning” (Luke 12:35). Like the upkeep of my house … it is easy to leave things out that should be put away, to ignore the pile of things by the back door that need to go to the garage, to live with a certain level of mess that suddenly becomes unacceptable just before a guest arrives.
Living with messes at home is normal and often necessary. People are always more important than appearances. But our hearts, His temple, should not be so. If you, like me, are hopefully watching for His coming, our supreme goal needs to be, “what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness…” (2 Peter 3:11).
When Christ comes for me I intend to be ready, to “have confidence” when He appears. I want to be eagerly waiting so that I do not “shrink from Him in shame at His coming” (1 John 2:28).
Next time you prepare for guests or even for visiting family think about what you need to do to welcome Jesus with eagerness and great joy. Are you ready for His appearance?