S (Scripture): Matthew 24:32 Jesus said to the disciples: “Learn this parable from the fig tree. After its branch becomes tender and it sprouts new leaves, you know that summer is near. 33 In the same way, when you see all these things, you know that the Human One is near, at the door. 34 I assure you that this generation won’t pass away until all these things happen. 35 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will certainly not pass away.
36 “But nobody knows when that day or hour will come, not the heavenly angels and not the Son. Only the Father knows.”
O (Observation): The community of believers are growing restless in terms of seeing the Kingdom come. They believed that they would see The End and the fullness of God’s glory in the Kingdom Come.
So, Jesus gives them some context: Others will come and say they are me, but they won’t be me; all are encouraged to endure any suffering done on account of Jesus’ name; the heavens will shake; a trumpet will sound. All of these will take place. You won’t miss it!
And in the meantime, says Jesus, stay alert. You keep an eye on the fig tree; so, too, keep an eye out for my return. Be alert. Be ready.
No one knows when this will all occur.
A (Application): We are not happy without deadlines. Well, some folks are happy with no deadlines…no deadline, no pressure…but also, no results.
With a deadline, we at least know what we are working towards. Now, we may not complete the project, but at least we will have this outside force (the deadline) on which to base our current activity: if the deadline is soon, we ramp up activity…if the deadline is far off, we can wait and relax.
Jesus is preparing the people in Matthew’s community to be ready at all times! They do not have a deadline (we do not have a deadline), but the signs will appear…but even with their appearance, no one knows exactly when all of this will usher in the Kingdom.
So, like we tell our children, get the chores and such done now. Completing those chores now mean more opportunities later on for us to serve or relax or embrace life or a new project.
Let us be ready. Let us be about the work of the Kingdom: using our gifts where the world needs them. Let’s do this until Kingdom come.
P (Prayer): Lord, remind us that we are always working towards the good of the world, regardless of the timing of your coming again. Amen.