Today's Scripture: Luke 12:35-40 (read)
"What are you waiting for?" Has anyone ever asked you that question - perhaps with a tinge of exasperation in the voice? As we observe the Advent season, I would like to suggest that each of us consider the question: "What are you waiting for?" -- with the emphasis upon the what.
Isn't it true that what we wait for determines the manner in which we wait - the what determines the how? Do you recall how you waited for graduation day to arrive? Can you still feel the anticipation and joy you felt as your wedding day approached? How did that waiting compare to the manner in which you waited for news from the pathology lab or for the first day of chemotherapy? What we wait for definitely determines the manner in which we wait.
In the biblical passage, Jesus related a parable to his disciples concerning the manner in which they were to wait for him. Jesus, employing the analogy of slaves awaiting the arrival of their master, admonished his disciples to wait in a state of watchful readiness (vv. 35-36). Those slaves who watchfully anticipate their master and who wait in readiness to serve him, no matter how unexpected his arrival, will be blessed (vv. 37-38).
To drive home his point, Jesus appealed to common knowledge of a practical truth: Waiting with watchful readiness can prevent disaster (v. 39). Jesus left no doubt concerning the intended application of his parable. His disciples are to wait for his arrival in a manner of watchful readiness because he will arrive unexpectedly (v. 40).
So what are you waiting for this Advent? How does the answer to this question determine the manner in which you are waiting?
Barry E. Morgan is professor of New Testament and Greek at Hannibal-LaGrange University.
This 2011 Advent devotion originally appeared in the November 17 issue of Word&Way.