““Therefore, stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— lest he come suddenly and find you sleeping. “And what I say to you I say to all, ‘Stay awake!’ ”” Mark 13:35-37 LSB https://bible.com/bible/3345/mrk.13.37.LSB
What does it mean to stay awake so that when the Lord returns to collect His own, we are ready for His arrival? Six disciplines we can use to measure our lives to see if we are indeed awake and prepared for the Lord to return at any moment. The first two are vertical, and they connect us to our God for doing the work of God so that He finds us faithful to His command to make disciples until His return. These are growing in His word and praying back to Him His word for application. We spend time in the Scripture daily to know our assignment and pray back to God for clarity on the assignment we received from His word. The four horizontal disciplines that grow the kingdom upon the earth as it is in heaven are, first, giving. As Christians, we do not tithe but follow Jesus’ example and commands, which are generous and sacrificial. God has increased the demonstration of His love for us from law to Christ and His expectation of us from law to love, so too giving moves from an offering from owners to all in by stewards. Second, we serve. Jesus came to serve, and so too do we who have been purchased by God through the blood of Christ no longer belong to ourselves but are servants of God for building the kingdom of God. We seek daily ways to use our time and talents to help people come to know Jesus better. This leads to the third discipline of sharing Jesus by sharing the gospel. Faith comes from hearing the word of God, which is the power of salvation for all who believe. As ambassadors for Christ, we proclaim Him verbally as King of kings and Lord of lords consistently in every area of human life. Finally, we sacrifice when called upon by God to do so to see others come to faith and grow in their faith. Jesus paid with His life so that we could be saved. We are sometimes called to pay dearly for identifying with Him and for helping Him identify Himself to others. How are we doing in these six disciplines? Fervency, consistency, and diligence at growing in these areas will keep us awake, ready, and rewarded by the Lord Jesus upon His return when He finds us faithful at our responsibility as children of God.