A couple of weekends ago, I participated in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (Grappling sport, similar to wrestling) event. This particular event did not have a posted schedule, so I didn't know the exact times for my matches. So, when I arrived, I did my usual warm-ups and stretches. But since I did not know the exact times I would be participating, I couldn't just sit down, relax, and allow my body to get cold again. I had to stay ready. At any moment, my name could be called, so I stayed ready by keeping my body loose and warm the entire time.
When Jesus told his disciples about his return, he used a short parable to drive home this same idea of readiness. "Be on guard! Be alert! You do not know when that time will come. It’s like a man going away: He leaves his house and puts his servants in charge, each with their assigned task, and tells the one at the door to keep watch. Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back—whether in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or at dawn. If he comes suddenly, do not let him find you sleeping. What I say to you, I say to everyone: 'Watch!'" (Mark 13:33-37).
What does Jesus mean when he tells us to remain alert and watchful? It's simply this: stay ready for his return. He's coming back, of that we can be assured. We might not know when, but we know what we should be up to in the meantime: our assigned tasks. So, just as when a jiu jitsu competitor stays ready for their matches by keeping their body warm and loose, we stay ready for Jesus' return by remaining on task. It's not about over-fixating on the signs and the times of Jesus' return; it's about staying on mission till he comes back.
Ask yourself this week: What task has God given me? How can I be a faithful servant of Jesus while I wait for his return? Who is the one person or household in my circle of acquaintances, friends, and family that God wants me to love well? How can I serve my church according to the gifts and abilities God has given me? As you prayerfully discover the answers to these questions, you discover what Jesus wants you to be up to "while [you] wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for [you] to redeem [you]..." (Titus 2:13-14).