A little boy, Jason, wanted a watch for his birthday. As kids do, he began hinting about it to his parents. At first, they ignored it.
Then Jason began to pick up the pace, talking about how much he wanted a watch. “We’ll see,” they said.
Not sure if they got the point, he began talking about watches every time he could work in the conversation. Finally, in exasperation, his Dad said, “Jason, if you don’t be quiet about this watch, you won’t get anything for your birthday.”
A couple of weeks went by and Jason didn’t mention the watch. Then one Saturday evening his parents and grandparents were having dinner together. Afterward, Jason asked to go outside to play.
“Do you have your memory verse to share with your Bible class tomorrow?” asked his Mom.
“What is it?”
“Hmm, what’s it say?”
Eagerly Jason stood up and said, “What I say, I say unto you all, WATCH!”
Admittedly the context of Mark 13 is quite a bit more complicated than verse 37. There are two issues Jesus addressed in this chapter: The destruction of Jerusalem and His second coming. Both events required faithfulness, fidelity and spiritual alertness on the part of the disciplines.
It seems that verse 37 is speaking regarding Christ’s return.
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is. It’s like a man going to a far country, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to each his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to watch. Watch, therefore, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming — in the evening, at midnight, at the crowing of the rooster, or in the morning — lest, coming suddenly, he find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
The word “watch” means to stay awake. Metaphorically it speaks to mental and spiritual alertness. To be cautious. Active. To give strict attention. A.T. Robertson writes that the verb is a present imperative. It means “Be on the watch…Stay awake until the Lord comes.”
One of the greatest challenges Christians face is complacency. It’s easy to let down our guard. To become lax. To procrastinate. To neglect our responsibilities.
Watchfulness demands diligence. Requires vigilance. And calls for constant attention to duty and detail. Like the Sentinel posted to guard a compound, the Christian soldier must be perceptive. Aware of his surroundings. Alert to an approaching enemy. Awake. Active. And observant.
We must watch out for the temptations of Satan. He’s subtle and shrewd. He knows how to distract us. To discourage us. And to deceive us with his cunning craftiness. He makes sin look so alluring. We must watch out not to fall for his schemes.
We must watch for opportunities to do good. To discharge our duties. To fulfill our personal responsibilities. To use our time, talent and treasure to glorify God and serve others.
We must be watchful to conduct ourselves like Christ. To control our emotions. To curb our passions. To bridle our tongues. And to guard our hearts.
We must alert and aware of the possibility that Christ could return at any time. No one knows the day or the hour of His coming. So, be ready!
“What I say to you, I say to all: Watch!”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman