In Matthew 24, Jesus' disciples asked when He would return to usher in the end of the age. Instead of revealing how long they should wait, Jesus taught them how to wait for His return. Because waiting on the Lord is such an important discipline for the Christian, Jesus revealed five characteristics we should develop as we wait.

Alertness (Matthew 24:42-44)
We are to be watchful and expectant while we wait for Christ's return. Jesus compares this component of waiting to a property owner who can never know when he might encounter a robber. Be careful, take precautions, and be prepared.

Responsibility (Matthew 24:45-51)
It's no small thing to be entrusted with the message of the Gospel. As the body of Christ, we are charged with providing appropriate and responsible care to the Church. When Christ returns, will He find His body broken down, abused and listless, or responsible, trustworthy, and focused on the work of His kingdom?

Preparedness (Matthew 25:1-13)
A bride will spend months preparing for her wedding — and there is not a detail that is overlooked. Shouldn't the Church be preparing with far greater joy and intensity, knowing that our Bridegroom will return for the marriage supper of the Lamb?

Investment (Matthew 25:14-30)
While we wait, God has entrusted us with responsibilities for the advancement of His kingdom. We each have a certain measure of time, talents, and treasure with which to invest. Jesus expects our faithfulness with these gifts — and a return on His investment in us.

Compassion (Matthew 25:31-46)
The Bible teaches that " by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead" (James 2:17). Our service to others is a direct reflection of the condition of our heart. Thankfully, God gives us the desire and the power to serve, and by responding to His call, we can know that we are ministering to Jesus Himself.

When Christ returns, will He find us alert, responsible, prepared, invested, and full of compassion?


Excerpted from My Journal, a monthly devotional magazine from Leading The Way with Dr. Michael Youssef.

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