“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”
– Mark 13:32-37 ESV
Three days a week I work at arvato. It’s honestly the most enjoyable “real” job I’ve had. As good as it is, I’ve noticed that there’s something about sitting in front of a computer screen all day that makes it surprisingly difficult for me to keep my mind “set on things above” and to stay tuned in to God’s presence and what he’s saying to me. I started noticing the trend even back in college. If I let myself spend too long watching a show on Hulu or playing a video game or reading a book just for my own entertainment somewhere along the way my spiritual senses would get dull and I would become increasingly likely to sin.
As I’ve observed Christians today I think that our biggest problem isn’t blatant sin. It’s spiritual lethargy and often plain laziness. Our abundance of earthly pleasures and entertainment has dulled our sense of God’s presence and the urgency of Christ’s impending return.
God has given his people the task of being ambassadors and caretakers of this world until he returns. We are the servants left in charge, each with his work. We are the doorkeepers, commanded to stay awake and be ready for our master’s return. We want to do our jobs well but we’re all nodding off in corners, barely able to keep our eyes awake.
Nodding off shouldn’t be a surprise when we’ve let the lights get turned down low, the room filled with comfortable warmth, and all enjoyed meal after rich meal.
If you’ve ever tried driving through the night on a long trip you know that there are some things that make it even more difficult to stay awake and some things that will help you stay awake. It’s not really something that anyone studies or spends hours deliberating. You just know it. Quiet music will make you sleepy, so you throw on something loud to help stay alert. Cold air will help you stay awake while warm air will lead to drooping eyelids.
What we understand intuitively on a physical level we somehow keep ourselves ignorant of on a spiritual level. That ignorance has us all in a car gradually drifting into the other lane. We need Jesus’ warning in Mark 13 – “ stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning—lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”
Start tuning in to the Holy Spirit and your own spirits and learning what dulls you and what sharpens your spiritual senses. It will vary from person to person somewhat – what may thrill my spirit might be a thorough “meh” for you. However, there are some things that – like warmth, quiet music, alcohol, and dim lighting do for us physically, will most likely affect everyone negatively, and others that will affect everyone positively.
Find what awakens your soul and fill your life with those things. Cut back on the things that lead your soul to slumbering. The master has left us to tend to his kingdom. When he returns we want to be awake and prepared, ready to have the joy of presenting his kingdom and ourselves to him as servants who have done well and not been found asleep.