Flaming leaves, released by their parents for a final frolic in the wind, skipped out of their yards and down the street as though they were children celebrating fall break. Their rustling became laughter as they ran farther from home, holding hands, inseparable and almost indistinguishable. The wind caught them in her grasp, tossing them into the air, twirling them round and round-high as the branches from which they came-before dropping them to the earth once more. The burnished oranges, reds, and golds in their apparel foretold the coming season. Fall had arrived. The Holiday Season was soon to follow and people across the world began to prepare, getting ready in advance for that which they knew would come without fail. Travel plans would be made and guests would be welcomed with great anticipation in many homes or with trepidation in others. But the season would not be swayed. come it would, ready or not.
If you’ve ever welcomed guests into your home, I’m sure you know the routine. My husband and I have certainly fallen into a pattern over the years. It is something we have done many times in the course of our marriage. He cleans the yard, blows off the sidewalks, driveway, and porches. I sweep, dust, mop, check the guest bath for clean towels. If we are having overnight guests I make sure there are clean sheets on each bed. Together, we stock the fridge and pantry. Our goal is to make our guests visit as comfortable as possible. We want to be good hosts. We love our home and want others to enjoy it as well. And while hospitality is not my greatest gifting, I want others to feel as though they are ‘at home’.
Often, as I prepare, I am reminded of what Jesus told His disciples in John 14.
I go to prepare a place for you to rest. And when everything is ready, I will come back and take you to myself so that you will be where I am.John 14: 2b, 3
A quick word study of ‘place’ will reveal Jesus went to prepare a resting place for His people. The rooms he spoke of provide a home, a dwelling, a secure location…much like a scabbard providing protection to a sword. Both the sword and scabbard, though unique in their purpose are each important.
Was Jesus talking about a place in heaven? Perhaps in the most literal sense, yes; for in Hebrews 8:1 Paul tells us Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father. Ephesians 2:6 proclaims we are seated in heavenly places with Christ Jesus! My friend, if you can get a hold of those words and believe it deep in your spirit it will change the way you operate! Jesus’ words “Abide in me and I in you!” will come alive for you and we will learn to live as though we are already in the place He has prepared for us.
Jesus’ resting place represents purpose and opportunity. I believe the place He has gone to prepare for me is not merely a “mansion over the hilltop”. He prepared a place for me IN HIM. If that isn’t amazing enough, He also has a place for me in the Kingdom.
Yet while the host prepares for the guests, the guests also prepare.
Once, during a personal time of prayer and worship, I had such a sense of the presence of God at that moment I prayed, “Lord, stay!” His response to me was to encourage me to be prepared. You know, as Jesus prepares for us a place, he expects us to be prepared and make ready a place for his presence. The Spirit of the Living God lives inside you! (I Cor 3:16).
For centuries man has attempted to build temples to house the presence of God. None of these temples are big enough or grand enough or wonderful enough. None of them are special enough!
You know what is big, grand, wonderful and special enough? You!
So just like the wise virgins of Matthew 25 be ready, have the oil in your lamp, fresh and ready, by spending time in his presence where there is fullness of joy, think about the good things of God, (Phillipians 4:8), and keep yourself from evil (I Thessalonians 5:21-22). Clear away the debris and stock up your fridge and pantry with the bread of life!
He is coming, ready or not. The season is here. It is always here, for He is always ready to meet you, to dwell with you. The question is, “ARE YOU?”