“Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”
– Jesus (Matthew 24:42)
Jesus, teaching his followers about how to act after his crucifixion and resurrection, gives them this singular advice: “stay awake.”
But why ‘stake awake’?
If we’re not paying attention, will we miss the boat? As in, not go to heaven?
And, regardless of that, what does ’staying awake’ even look like?
The answer comes not when we look at this life but the next. Because what we do here affects what we do there.
This becomes clear as Jesus goes on to illustrate with the story of the servants given assets to invest.
Two do just that, they invest and when the owner comes back, he’s happy. But the third doesn’t. In fact, he doesn’t do anything. It’s as if he was never given anything at all. The owner was, understandably, upset with the third (Matthew 25:14-30).
‘Stay awake’ does not mean stay on edge and never rest. And it doesn’t mean that only those watching will somehow get to heaven.
Instead, ‘stay awake’ means we’re to think of this life like it matters. Like it will inform the next.
Because, after all, it does.
Jesus said, “lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:20-21).