What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘Watch!’” Mark 13:37
Waiting is a new tangible reality for us, as many are forced to stay-at-home during the coronavirus pandemic. The world is collectively in a state of waiting and asking a million questions. How will this unfold? What will be around the bend? What in the world is God up to?
Waiting can be very difficult, but Jesus clearly told us waiting is a part of his plan.
In chapter 13, Mark strategically sums up Jesus’ message about awaiting the end of the age with one final word, “gregoreo.” This greek word is jam-packed with meaning. Translators have difficulty getting to its full meaning because it entails staying awake, watching, being on the alert and continually cautious.
As we watch the happenings around the globe and await Jesus’ return, we look to Jesus’ words to teach us something about waiting. Jesus says, “What I say to you, I say to everyone: ‘gregoreo!’ (Mark 13:37). Here’s what this might look like as we wait out this pandemic.
- “Stay awake!” We may be asked to stay-at-home but that doesn’t give us permission to fall asleep to what’s happening. It’s easy to numb ourselves with Netflix, busyness, cleaning, online shopping, or alcohol – especially when waiting gets hard – but if we fall asleep to negative feelings we also miss out on seeing the beautiful ways God is showing up (Luke 21:28-36).
- “Be alert!” Coronavirus has made us aware of a silent and invisible enemy. Like this virus, our enemy sneaks around like a roaring lion seeking out whom he may devour. This is why we need to stay alert and of sober mind to be able to identify the ways the enemy is tempting us – with selfish thoughts, out-of-control emotions, ungodly behavior, etc. Jesus reminds us to watch for the true enemy so we can resist him (1 Peter 5:8-9).
- “Be continually cautious!” During this time, we need to be careful to keep ourselves healthy and out of the hospital. We must also be careful about what we listen to on the news and on social media. This cautiousness doesn’t give us permission to be unloving. As we walk down the street, interact with people in the grocery store, write comments online, or make decisions with our families, Jesus calls us to be ready to walk in his way with his heart. This posture is both cautious to identify truth and full of genuine love for others (1 John 4:1-11).
Take a moment to ask Jesus which of these three he would like to see you apply. Then tell a trustworthy friend how you will obey Jesus so you have support to ‘Gregoreo’ this weekend.
By Yvonne Biel