Is the Alarm Set?
Luke 12:39 “But know this: if the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour.”
Luke was speaking to followers of Christ of all ages, both physically and spiritually. Everyone was to be vigilant in spiritual preparedness. Using the metaphor of a thief coming to a home, so the Christian was to protect their spiritual dwelling. This teaching was especially significant for those in leadership, for the servants who were left in charge of the Master’s household. The overseers had responsibility for the house being in order, for being ready. Unfortunately unfaithful stewards neglect their duties and look for ways to find short-cuts. Augustine says they are “worthy of utter wretchedness.”
Basil the Great reminds us that watchfulness defines the Christ-follower. “What is the mark of a Christian? It is to watch daily and hourly and to stand prepared in that state of total responsiveness pleasing to God, knowing that the Lord will come at an hour that he does not expect. “ (The Morals)
Many of my family members and friends have alarm systems on their homes. The Seminary has an alarm system that is set every evening. Most churches have alarm systems which have to be armed when you leave and unarmed when you enter. It’s one of those things that creates a bit of stress in your life as you try to remember codes and patterns which must be done in the correct sequence. However, for the place to be secure, the system must be set.
But how often are those systems really turned on? I’ve heard people say that it’s effective to just have the appearance of having an alarm system. That’s why people buy signs that say they have an alarm system and put them in their front yard, or they put a sticker on their front door, while in reality there is no security system.
Jesus hated the hypocrites, those who pretended to be something when they really weren’t. Spiritual hypocrites are those who purchase the sign to put in the front yard but never take the time to fully install the security system. They want people to believe that they have one and they will fool some of the people but not all of the people. The moment of truth comes when the intruder discovers that it’s all just a sham and it’s so easy that you can almost walk right into the front door of the house and take absolutely everything that you want.
Imagine the consequences if you’re a spiritual leader and you’re just putting the sign outside the church building or the sticker on the door, but there is no real security system for those who enter your doors. A false sense of security is being created for those who enter, who trust the leader and that the sign actually means something.
The signs outside of a church must mean something! Just a sign will fool some people but it will not fool Jesus when he returns. A genuine security system involves daily and hourly watchfulness and responsive to the leadings of the Lord. To be a well-oiled machine, a well-functioning security system it must be armed, receiving continuous power for preparedness. This is God’s intent for his people.
I’m challenged today because I know far too many who only have security stickers on their doors, or they have alarm systems which have fallen into disrepair and they have failed to get them fixed. The Alarm can no longer be set and they're left with a meaningless sign.
Lord, please help me to take care of my alarm system on a daily basis. Amen.