Wal-Mart corporation has a division that operates hundreds of membership discount warehouses around the world called Sam’s Clubs. Since they offer bulk buying options that help us save a few dollars on groceries, dog food and other items that we use here in our corner of the city, we’ve been members for over 2 decades. But last week, the one closest to us closed. Other than being mildly annoyed to have to find a new place to shop, I took more notice of this store’s shuttering mainly because of how abruptly it took place. Apparently at some of the 63 locations that were affected across the United States, the employees (including managers) weren’t given any notice at all. They just showed up last Thursday like any other normal workday, only to find the doors locked and a sign posted that informed them that the store was closed … permanently. No discussion. No warning. Not even time to get a forgotten sweater or pick up yesterday’s lunch container from the fridge in the break room. Just done.
While that must have been a surprising discovery for the over 9000 people who used to work in the stores that closed across the country, it’s absolutely nothing compared to the shock that many will receive in the day that Christ returns.
Jesus made this emphatic statement… “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. – Matthew 24:36-39
The Day of the Lord is coming, and when it arrives, there will be no notice given and no margin allowed for preparation. “Two men will be in the field,” Jesus stated. “One will be taken and the other left. Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left. (Matt. 24:40) He went on to instruct his followers to “be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (vs 41)
The workers at Sam’s Club didn’t have the benefit of any foreknowledge or warning preceding the termination of their employment. It was a total surprise that was known only to a privileged few. But regarding the Lord’s return, we have been told. And while we won’t get a ‘two week notice’ before His arrival or severance payments to tide us over, He did go into lengthy detail about the precursors and circumstances surrounding His return in Matthew 24 & 25. And later through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, He instructed Paul, Peter and John to reinforce the certainty of this event in their writings to the church.
But in light of these repeated warnings, instead of trying to “do right” or clean up your act on your own to be ready for this fateful day, remember the essence of the Gospel story and the reason Jesus came to Earth the first time. Our desperate condition and His great love motivated Him to come to us (Rom. 5:8), and through His mercy, give us what we could never provide for ourselves… HIS righteousness, and not our own. (Eph 2:4)
So if you’re going through your life, assuming that all will continue on just as it always has, don’t get caught by surprise, grasping for something to rely on at the last minute. The door of eternity is open now. (1 Tim. 2:4; Heb. 7:25) Make sure you know Jesus as your Savior so that His return will be a day of rejoicing instead of one filled with fear and dread after finding yourself standing outside an eternally locked door.
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