Jo and I had a brief conversation at 1:00 p.m. this past Sunday, just before the first of what would be twenty-six relatives arrived to spend the afternoon at our shared acreage for the Popjes Family Reunion.
“You know, Hon,” I said, “even if no one comes, I would still count this family reunion a roaring success. Our house has not been so clean since we moved in last year. It has never been so well furnished, or so attractively decorated. Nor has the outside looked as good. Lawn cut and trimmed, raw clay covered with black soil, and seeded with grass or planted with perennials, the concrete block walks all laid and swept. All tools put away. Even the leaking rain gutters are fixed. Really, there is no need for anyone to come at all! We are already enjoying the benefits of all the preparations.”
Jo looked at me, smiled, shook her head, and said, “That’s you, because you get such a kick out of getting things done, but I’m still looking forward to being with everybody.”
And she was right, we all thoroughly enjoyed the next seven hours. It was great to be together with all four of my siblings, and to see our kids and grandkids interacting with my siblings’ kids and grandkids. I was glad that my youngest sister and her husband from Prince Edward Island were making a trip out west so we could capitalize on their presence and plan a reunion for whoever could come. We had a great time eating and drinking, of course, but also sitting around visiting. The skies, though intermittently cloudy, produced no rain—an answer to our fervent prayers—and the wind kept the mosquitoes away.
That early Sunday afternoon conversation, however, returned to me when I was reading Matthew 24 this morning. Jesus, answering His disciples’ questions about the end of human time gives a general description of events that will occur, and then concludes with this warning about His return, “Keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come . . . . you must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”
The emphasis of the warning is that since neither the disciples then, nor we today, know just when Jesus is returning in power and majesty, we need to be continually ready. Our family reunion was planned quickly, but we still had plenty of time to get ready.
If a month ago, my sister and brother in law along with two dozen other relatives, had suddenly arrived without warning, the reunion would have been quite different. Nothing ready, the house dirty and everything in chaos, no new furniture, no food, no drink, and outside nothing but heaps of clay, gravel and black soil piled everywhere. Yes, we would have handled it, but being fully prepared quintupled our enjoyment and satisfaction.
About eight years ago, I wrote and published a blog post on the subject of being prepared for the Great Heavenly Family Reunion when Jesus returns. Later, I edited it and included the column in my second book, A Kick in the Pants.
It is not my opinion of how or when the “End Times” will occur. Rather it is a Popjes Paraphrase of Matthew 25:31-46, giving a vivid and clear description of what we, God’s family on earth, need to be doing to be ready for that Last Reunion when Jesus returns.