I had to run to the store to grab a present for Shawn (nothing like waiting till the last minute), so I assigned my children some chores - hide the dirty laundry, put away the clean clothes, wash dishes, and sweep. These are chores they know how to do and are capable of completing in just a matter of minutes.
My trip to the store lasted much longer than I had anticipated. When I arrived home 15 minutes before our guests were due to arrive, the house looked precisely the way it did when I left. I was furious that they had postponed the chores until it was too late instead of taking care of business immediately when I left and used their leftover free time to play. I was yelling, "Why didn't you do your chores. You knew that I would be returning. Why didn't you do what I asked you to do while you had the opportunity?"
God interrupted my tirade, "Exactly."
I stopped abruptly. "What?"
Mark 13:34-37, "The coming of the Son of Man can be compared with that of a man who left home to go on a trip. He gave each of his employees instructions about the work they were to do, and he told the gatekeeper to watch for his return. So keep a sharp lookout! For you do not know when the homeowner will return - at evening, midnight, early dawn, or late daybreak. Don't let him find you sleeping when he arrives without warning. What I say to you I say to everyone: Watch for his return!"
Luke 12:35 - 48
35 “Be dressed for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 as though you were waiting for your master to return from the wedding feast. Then you will be ready to open the door and let him in the moment he arrives and knocks. 37 The servants who are ready and waiting for his return will be rewarded. I tell you the truth, he himself will seat them, put on an apron, and serve them as they sit and eat! 38 He may come in the middle of the night or just before dawn.a]">[a] But whenever he comes, he will reward the servants who are ready.
39 “Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. 40 You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.”
41 Peter asked, “Lord, is that illustration just for us or for everyone?”
42 And the Lord replied, “A faithful, sensible servant is one to whom the master can give the responsibility of managing his other household servants and feeding them. 43 If the master returns and finds that the servant has done a good job, there will be a reward. 44 I tell you the truth, the master will put that servant in charge of all he owns. 45 But what if the servant thinks, ‘My master won’t be back for a while,’ and he begins beating the other servants, partying, and getting drunk? 46 The master will return unannounced and unexpected, and he will cut the servant in pieces and banish him with the unfaithful.
47 “And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. 48 But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required."
Oh my. I put off the tasks that God has asked me to do so that I can do what I want, or perceive, that I need to do for myself and my family. It's that same question I was asking my kids, "Why didn't you take care of business while you had the chance?" Talk about conviction. I didn't like that God was reminding me that I have let my busy lifestyle once again interfere with kingdom business.
The kids got off pretty lightly, especially since I totally lost track of where I was in my tirade while God was showing me my life in a mirror. Ouch.
And we recovered the house. The kids hid the dirty clothes in baskets, washed dishes, swept floors, and threw my clean clothes under my bed.