Only Mrs. Davies, the kindergarten teacher at Tibbets Elementary, wore soft-soled shoes. Every day, she would leave the classroom for a short period of time. We never knew for sure where she went because we couldn’t hear which direction her shoes took. It was widely believed she went to the nearby kitchen for a short coffee break.
Seconds after she left the room, boys would sneak out of their seats to roughhouse with their buddies. Girls would whisper to their friends who usually sat at a different table. The horseplay and whispering soon escalated to talking and laughing out loud, and those soft-soled shoes gave no warning of Mrs. Davies’ imminent return. Suddenly, she’d be standing in the doorway, taking note of anyone not sitting quietly in their seat.
The few times I joined the misbehavior, it was only for a few seconds immediately after she left the room. I dreaded the embarrassment of getting caught. When Mrs. Davies returned, I wanted to be found obedient.
The Bible says His return will be as unexpected as a thief in the night–like Mrs. Davies and her sudden appearance in the doorway.
What should I be doing when Jesus returns? The easy answer, of course, is leading the lost to Christ, visiting those who are sick or in prison, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, housing the homeless—doing unto the least of these. What is He likely to find me doing? The activities that consume daily living: sleeping, working, eating, watching TV, socializing with friends. Unless we’re in full-time ministry, actually doing something for the least of these is something most of us do in our spare time, or as a special service project. Should I feel guilty about that, like being out of my seat when Mrs. Davies returns?
When I read scripture, I don’t see Jesus telling everyone to quit their jobs in order to do full-time ministry. He called a few to give up their livelihoods and follow him, but there were many others who continued serving as soldiers, craftsmen, fishermen, merchants and tent-makers. They too honored Jesus’ teaching but they did it in the midst of providing for their families and earning a living.
So what do I want to be doing when Jesus returns? The things He’s called me to do: be a helpmate to my husband, a teacher of godliness to my children, a friend to the lonely, an encourager to the disheartened, a writer of the stories He puts on my heart. Whether He returns while I’m living life or ministering to the least of these, I want to be found obedient, even if I don’t hear Him coming.