Lessons from a Barn, Part 1

The first thing that we noticed as we drove up, other than the wagon wheel at the end of the driveway, was the barn. It was old, well-weathered, and situated beside the driveway between the road and the house. I can’t really say the ‘barn stood’ next to the driveway because the barn was leaning so badly. Although the barn was the first sight to greet us on our arrival, its menacing imbalance inspired us to hasten and not hesitate in its presence…surely the barn needed little provocation to lose its fight with gravity.

 For the last nine years the barn has been a continuing topic of discussion with our son and his family. “We heard you had quite a snow storm yesterday. Is the barn still standing?” “Has the barn fallen yet?” “Oh look! The barn is still up!”

 The expectation has been that the barn could collapse at any time. The expectation has been that with the next wind or snow or rain or loud cough gravity would finally have its way and the leaning barn would become the fallen barn. It was sure to happen. It could happen at any time. It was expected and anticipated.

In Luke 12 Christ tells his disciples two brief stories about expectation. The first is the story of the expected return of the master from a social event.

 Be dressed in readiness, and keep your lamps lit. Be like men who are waiting for their master when he returns from the wedding feast, so that they may immediately open the door to him when he comes and knocks. Blessed are those slaves whom the master will find on the alert when he comes…Whether he comes in the second watch, or even in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those slaves (Luke 12:35-38).

 The second is the story of the unexpected arrival of a thief to rob and steal.

But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have allowed his house to be broken into (v. 39). 

Christ’s point for his disciples, past and present, is contained in verse 40, “You too, be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour that you do not expect.”

Christ’s return is sure and certain to happen. It could happen at any time. It is, without question, imminent. However, the question is whether or not His return is expected and anticipated? So let me wonder a bit…What’s the first thing you see in the morning after you see the alarm clock? What is it that repeatedly comes up in your conversations? On the practical plane of daily life, how imminent is Christ’s return to you?

About Charles McLain
I am Chair and Professor of Old Testament at Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA.

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