1 Thessalonians 5:6, “Let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober”
1 John 2:28, “Abide in Him, that when He appears, we may have confidence and not be ashamed before Him at His coming”
For today’s devotional I want to share with you another old hymn written by Fanny Crosby entitled “Will Jesus find us Watching”. I must say that Fanny Crosby is one of my favorite hymn writers and was probably the most prolific hymnist in history. Though blinded by an in-competent doctor at six weeks of age, she wrote over 8,000 hymns. About her blindness, she said: It seemed intended by the blessed providence of God that I should be blind all my life, and I thank him for the dispensation. If perfect earthly sight were offered me tomorrow I would not accept it. I might not have sung hymns to the praise of God if I had been distracted by the beautiful and interesting things about me. In her lifetime, Fanny Crosby was one of the best known women in the United States. To this day, the vast majority of American hymnals contain her work. Her secular works include: The Blind Girl, 1844; Monterey and Other Poems, 1851; A Wreath of Columbia’s Flowers, 1858; Bells at Evening and Other Verses (New York: Biglow & Main, 1897). On her 85th birthday, American president Grover Cleveland wrote the following letter to Fanny.
My dear friend:
It is more than fifty years ago that our acquaintance and friendship began; and ever since that time I have watched your continuous and interested labor in uplifting humanity, and pointing out the way to an appreciation of God’s goodness and mercy. Though your labors have, I know, brought you abundant rewards in your consciousness of good accomplished, those who have known of your works and sympathized with your noble purposes owe it to themselves that you are apprized of their remembrance of these things. I am, therefore, exceedingly gratified to learn that your eighty-fifth birthday is to be celebrated with a demonstration of this remembrance. As one proud to call you an old friend, I desire to be early in congratulating you on your long life of usefulness, and wishing you in the years yet to be added to you, the peace and comfort born of the love of God.
Yours very sincerely,
When Jesus comes to reward His servants,
Whether it be noon or night,
Faithful to Him will He find us watching,
With our lamps all trimmed and bright?
O can we say we are ready, brother?
Ready for the soul’s bright home?
Say, will He find you and me still watching,
Waiting, waiting when the Lord shall come?
If, at the dawn of the early morning,
He shall call us one by one,
When to the Lord we restore our talents,
Will He answer thee—“Well done”?
Have we been true to the trust He left us?
Do we seek to do our best?
If in our hearts there is naught condemns us,
We shall have a glorious rest.
Blessed are those whom the Lord finds watching,
In His glory they shall share;
If He shall come at the dawn or midnight,
Will He find us watching there?
When Jesus spoke to His followers about His return, He said, “Be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” (Luke 12:40). The story has been told of a father that arrived to pick up his son after a church youth meeting. As he drove into the parking lot, he saw his preteen son by the exit door completely oblivious to his father’s arrival. The father decided to see how long it would take his son to look around and discover that he was there. Twenty minutes went by before the father finally honked the horn to get his son’s attention. “Where have you been?” his son asked when he got in the car. “I’ve been sitting right here for 20 minutes,” his dad replied, much to the surprise of the son. Do you think we’ll be a little like that preoccupied son when Jesus returns for us? Oh, we won’t fail to see Him when He comes back. He’ll make His presence abundantly clear to us. But are we so busy with the details of life that we aren’t looking for Him and preparing for His arrival. Or are we watching – eager to see Him come? It’s not easy to keep focused on the return of the Lord. We have so many things to take care of that we push Christ’s return to the back of our minds. If so, “Let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober” (1 Thessalonians 5:6). To be prepared for Christ’s coming, we need to be actively watching and be ready.
We are to be ready for the last moment by being ready at every moment.