1 Thessalonians 3:7-13
Brothers, your faith has been a great comfort to us in the middle of our own troubles and sorrows; now we can breathe again, as you are still holding firm in the Lord. How can we thank God enough for you, for all the joy we feel before our God on your account? We are earnestly praying night and day to be able to see you face to face again and make up any shortcomings in your faith.
May God our Father himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, make it easy for us to come to you. May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you. And may he so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.
Jesus said to his disciples:
‘Stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. You may be quite sure of this that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house. Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
‘What sort of servant, then, is faithful and wise enough for the master to place him over his household to give them their food at the proper time? ‘Happy that servant if his master’s arrival finds him at this employment. I tell you solemnly, he will place him over everything he owns. But as for the dishonest servant who says to himself, “My master is taking his time,” and sets about beating his fellow servants and eating and drinking with drunkards, his master will come on a day he does not expect and at an hour he does not know. The master will cut him off and send him to the same fate as the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.’
At this time of writing, I have been living in Canberra for more than two months. This is the first time I am living abroad on my own for an extended period of time, and is also a time of testing. I have been disconcerted and disappointed to find that when on my own, my thoughts often tended towards the negative and sinful, with the stress of assignments often compounding those dark thoughts. It is during this time that I realised my procrastination when it comes to daily activities also extends to sin and reconciliation with God. Yes, maybe I made the sinful choice now, but I can always go for confession and repent later, right?
Jesus taught his disciples about the narrow gate being the way to enter the kingdom of heaven. What is that narrow way? It is so easy in our days of material comfort to seek the same kind of comfort in the spiritual aspect as well. Instead of taking the narrow gate, I suspect that a lot of us are choosing to take the most comfortable gate, which will likely not lead one there, come to think of it.
“Constant vigilance!” is the mantra of Alastor ‘Mad-Eye’ Moody, a prominent character in the Harry Potter series. In the gospel reading for today, Jesus used the example of a vigilant householder who will earn the rewards of heaven. If I were to use a typical workplace example, most employees would take the opportunity to slack off work, take longer lunch breaks, etc in the boss’ absence. I have often done so myself, sad to say. But Jesus is not like any boss. The rules he set for entering His kingdom are tough, but are not meant to stifle and restrict us. In the great spiritual mystery that will only make sense if we put our hearts and minds to discerning God’s will and acting on it, following Jesus’ rules will set us free.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Edith Koh)
Prayer: We pray for the discipline to turn away from sin and find the strength to make the difficult but God-loving decisions that are uncomfortable for us.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the forgiveness of God.