“O Jerusalem, I have posted watchmen on your walls; they will pray day and night, continually. Take no rest, all you who pray to the Lord. Give the Lord no rest until he completes his work, until he makes Jerusalem the pride of the earth.”Isaiah 62:6-7
Over and over agin the Bible speaks of “watchmen on the wall” and for followers of Christ to be prayerful and watchful. But, what does this mean? How can we develop the attributes of a watchmen?
Each day as I drive my son to school, there is a man standing at a cross walk holding a 20mph sign and delivering deep and nasty stares to anyone who ignores his caution to slow down. Once a year he reminds us why he does it. The pony-tailed young grandpa passes out information about a young lady who was hit by a a vehicle on that very road. I’m not sure if she was family or not, but obviously for him it was very personal. I can count the days on one hand that he’s been absent from his post over the past two years. He’s a watchmen.
Here’s the thing about watchmen. Their assignment is boring and mundane. They have no particular “duty” except to prevent something from happening. They are guards of cities and roads and people. They are set over a treasure and keep those who would steal it away. Like I said, their assignment is mundane. Let’s say that a watchmen is on his “watch” for 1000 straight days without any action or sign of perpetration. The watchmen doesn’t live for the 1000 days. He lives for the one day that something does happen. On day 1001 a car speeds down the road of my son’s school and the watchmen is there to bring warning to drivers and pedestrians. That’s the problem with watchmen work. The 1000 to 1 ratio lulls us to sleep and can even cause us to believe that our work is useless.
The terms “watch and pray” are a big part of our daily faith. In many ways, we are all watchmen who have been assigned to be on high alert day in and day out until the Lord returns. However, it’s been a long time coming and watchmen get weary. So how do we develop the attributes of a watchmen that is on high alert through day 1001. Let me offer a few suggestions:
- Catch a revelation of that day. We must grasp that the ordinary makes way for the opportunity. There will be a day that our watching will be worth it. We call it “keeping our eyes on the prize.” We must not entertain the idea that our work is useless as we watch and pray. Watchmen are vital to protect the city and the people.
- Don’t buy into the nay sayers. I’m talking about the external and internal voices that try to convince you that you wasting your time. They are both very real and very loud. We must speak truth to ourselves in our inner person. Our self talk and the talk that we allow others to impose upon us is vital to our success as watchmen. Make sure you ignore the voices that call us to “loosen up” and pay attention to the voice that says: “be alert.”
- Embrace boring and mundane as part of the job. In our current season of history, boring is bad, slow is bad, and hard is bad. However, anyone who has ever done anything knows that slow, boring, and hard is part of the process. Being on watch is many times boring work. However we must not allow ourselves to get weary of staying alert and watchful. There’s a job to do.
- See ordinary days not as wasted time, but as watering the promise of His coming. This one is a continuation of number three. Ordinary feels boring, but if we see ordinary days not as wasted time, but as a means of watering the promise of His coming, we will feel a sense of purpose around our waiting and watching. Jesus describes in various forms a master returning home again after a long time away. This was a part of his training and teaching. He wanted them to be prepared for the ordinary, but not lose sight of the opportunity.
“Watch! Be alert! For you don’t know when the time is coming.”Mark 13:33