36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
My father used to serve on a Synodical board when I was a child which meant he frequently flew from our home in Nebraska to St. Louis. One day he came home from the airport with a strange story. This was in northeastern Nebraska, so the airport was tiny; it only had one gate I think, probably two or three flights per day. As he had been flying in, he had struck up a conversation with the young man who sat beside him. He learned that this man lived on one of the nearby Native American reservations which dot that part of the state.
They got off the plane, retrieved their luggage and Dad noticed the young man looking around but not finding someone. He inquired if the fellow had a way home. “Yeah, my father is supposed to pick me up,” he said. “But that might be tonight, it could be tomorrow, or it could be next week. I will probably have to thumb a ride home.” My own dad was stunned. The man’s home was not that far out of the way for him, so he brought him home. On the way the young man explained that time meant something very different in his culture and sometimes the two cultures did not mesh well. His father had not forgotten him, but his father did not read clocks the same way that my father did.
Jesus speaks today of our waiting and God’s time. Apparently, God does not read clocks the same way we do either. Even the Son doesn’t know when this whole end of the world thing is going to happen. It reminds me of this young man whose father might show up “tonight, tomorrow, or next week.” Like Native American time reckoning, it will likely be a time which He thinks is just right, even if my clock-watching self is pulling my hair out about the timing. I have to trust Him on this one. But that is OK. He has proven Himself to be quite trustworthy. It is hard be patient and wait when we do not know exactly how long. Jesus tells us to pay attention to what is before us. If you read the next passage it is about a servant who is praised when the Master comes and finds him doing his job.