“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…” began Jesus. (John 10:10a), and in Matthew’s gospel He states the only logical action a homeowner might take if one were aware of such malevolent intentions: “…If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.” (Matt. 24:24). No one, knowing a burglar was about, would simply roll over, turn out the light and ignore the matter. No. Advance knowing demands advance preparations.
We do this with many things already. Just this week persons in neighbouring communities have flooded the malls in efforts to stock up on supplies in anticipation of stricter Covid-19 lockdown protocols. Last month many Floridians boarded up their homes again as yet another hurricane approached. Every winter wise families maintain a three-day emergency supplies cache as security against possible ice storm power outages. When we know, we prepare!
Nature reflects this wisdom also. Bears feed heavily for the coming months of hibernation, squirrels gather and store nuts, geese build up their energies, strengthen their wings, then take flight south as the days grow shorter and temperatures fall.
On this Solomon observes, “Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” (Prov. 6:6-8). It doesn’t take a rocket scientist! Indeed, at every turn, the fact of human nature is this: “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty.” (Prov. 22:3).
The full verse of today’s opening passage is this: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy [but] I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Here is a personage we ought want to enter our homes, our beings, our souls. In Matthew, Jesus likens the unexpectedness of a thief’s coming to that of His own. He urges: “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Read Matthew 25 for a fuller story of our preparation essentials.)
Deceptions surround us, but God has given fair warning: Look to Jesus. Live only for Him. Live now for eternity… prepare… disentangle yourself from this world… trust His Spirit and His Word to guide you… be strong… and, of course… press on.