At our house, we don’t always announce when it’s time to leave – whether for an appointment, trip, or event. Instead, an announcement is made for everyone to start getting their shoes on. With a small room next to the garage, shared with the laundry machines, tools, and other household goods, there’s not a lot of room for everyone in the family to simultaneously secure their shoes.
Knowing that there can be a few minutes’ “lead time” before the family is ready to leave the house (including not only shoes, but also the wrap-up of current projects and finding things that are needed for the trip), this “SGSO” time must start a few minutes before the actual departure time.
Jesus prophesied His resurrection (which was accomplished). He also prophesied that He would return again (see Mark 13:26-27). This promise was confirmed when Jesus was taken up into Heaven after His resurrection:
“Men of Galilee,” they said, “why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!”
Acts of the Apostles 1:11 NLT
However, Jesus also indicated that – at least while He was in His human body and walking this earth – He didn’t have the knowledge of exactly when this would occur:
“However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows.
Mark 13:32 NLT
During a sermon that was emphasizing the importance of telling other people about the Good News that Jesus taught (and the Good News about who He is), I was thinking about Jesus’ return. While I feel that Jesus made it pretty clear (see all of Mark 13) that we wouldn’t necessarily know exactly when His return was coming (until He showed up), He also said that there would be signs. As the signs pile up, it seems clear that Jesus could return any day, now. (Of course, I know that His return could be in the distant future, but bear with me, here.)
If God the Father has indeed planned for Jesus to return soon, I envision Him letting Jesus (God the Son) know that His return is getting close. I know that Jesus – being God, and existing beyond the constraints of time – doesn’t have to get His shoes on, but as a finite human, I imagine Him getting ready for His triumphant trip back to the earth (full of people He died to save from the penalty of our sins). Again, in a metaphorical sense, He could be preparing His robe, getting a sword ready, and gathering the hosts of heaven.
Regardless of the details of God’s perfect timing, I believe that the signs – and Jesus’ imperatives – are more than clear enough for us: We need to start getting our shoes on, and head out into the world to do what He called us to. Billions of people in this world need to hear about Jesus: who He is, what He did for us, and how we can have our lives changed by following Him.
Introducing people to Jesus, telling them the Good News about Him, and helping them walk with Him in an abundant life – these are not things that the world is just going to start needing some day in the future, or only some desperate cry of a future generation. Our world needs Jesus right now. In fact, this need has been true since Jesus sent out His disciples in the first century:
When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”
Matthew 9:36-38 NLT
So, let’s “suit up” (hint: you don’t need to wear an actual suit), get our shoes on (or our sandals, flip-flops, or whatever footwear we choose), and get to work. Outside our door, there are people who need the hope of Jesus, and the new life that He offers to them. Let’s start getting our shoes on!
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.