Watch Out!

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap.”

Luke 21:34

The bulk of Luke 21 focuses on the future. Jesus speaks about what will happen to Jerusalem and its temple, and how his followers should live in the midst of the approaching turmoil. This passage and others like it in Scripture have been the subject of endless speculations about the timing and conditions of the end times and the second coming of Christ. As you read the text, it’s clear that Jesus was referring most obviously to events leading up to the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70. But much of what he said is relevant to us, though our context is quite different from that of his first audience.

As Jesus brings his discussion of the future to a conclusion, he says, “Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware, like a trap” (21:34). “That day” refers to the time when Jesus, as the Son of Man, appears in power and glory (see 21:27). When Jesus appears, we are to be ready, having lived in a way that honors him and requires no last minute repentance. Thus, we’ll be able to welcome him without hesitation and to joyfully receive the fullness of his kingdom.

Notice what might compromise our readiness: “carousing and drunkenness” and “the worries of this life” (21:34). The Greek word translated as “carousing” (kraipale) refers to drunkenness and its results: immoral behavior and hangovers. The CEB captures the sense of the text by referring to “drinking parties” and “drunkenness.” Jesus makes it clear that such behavior is not fitting for his disciples because it dulls our awareness of him and his coming.

If you’re not inclined to abuse alcohol, you’re not off the hook, however. Jesus also warns us not to be dulled by “the worries of this life.” This, I must confess, hits closer to home for me, since I am naturally a worrier. It is true that sometimes I can become so preoccupied with earthly problems that I stop centering myself on the Lord. Thus, I need to hear Jesus warning: “Watch out!” I need to see this life in light of the life that is to come, when God’s kingdom will permeate all things, when God will wipe away every tear, and when life will be restored to what God had intended it to be. May you and I not lose sight of this hope, which helps us to see all of life in the light of God’s future.

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When you think of the future coming of God’s kingdom, what do you envision? What are the things that dull your spiritual senses? How can we avoid carousing, drunkenness, and the worries of this life?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank you for reminding me today to “Watch out!” Yes, I should avoid carousing and drunkenness. But, as you know, the greater danger for me is to be consumed by the worries of this life. When things aren’t going right around me, I can get so wrapped up in them that I lose perspective. Mostly, I lose sight of you and your work. I begin to think about life as if you were only watching from a distance, rather than actively involved. Forgive me, Lord.

By your Spirit, help me to watch out for that which draws me away from you. May I remain faithful to you in how I think, feel, and live each day. Amen.

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