Big Idea: The Son of Man is coming soon.
Luke 21 is sometimes called the little Revelation. It describes in abbreviated form the events of the end of the age and ends with a call to be ready. Many people are consumed with prophetic charts and timelines, trying to set a date or place a name on every detail. Interestingly, that is not the emphasis that Jesus places at all. In the Texas CDL handbook, one piece of advice stood out to me. It said something like: "The best way to have both hands on the wheel in an emergency is to always have both hands on the wheel." Jesus' warning is that, because He will come suddenly, we should always live the lives we would want to be living if He came today.
He describes two temptations that lull us to sleep and complacency, and they seem almost like opposites. The first is surfeiting (the CSB translates it as the more familiar term "carousing" and one commentator rendered "unbridled indulgence") and drunkenness. Don't get caught up in a partying lifestyle that chases after the momentary pleasures of this life, because they are going to be taken away in an instant, like the snap of a mousetrap. The second temptation is to be overcome by the anxieties of this life. Perhaps this one is more insidious because of course, we must be aware of our need for shelter, food, and clothing. But daily anxiety shows a heart that is too fixed on things of this world. Don't get caught up in the pressures of this life, because they too are going to be taken away in an instant.
What should we do instead? The Son of Man's simple advice is to pray that we will have the strength to stand. We cannot resist these pressures in our own strength, and if we really believe the coming of the Lord is soon, we have no time to fool around with impossible schemes. Be alert and pray - the two hands on the wheel.
Discussion idea: What kind of temptation, negative or positive, is the most distracting to you? Why? How can you pray about that?
Prayer focus: If prayer to have the strength to stand is key, we must pray to have the strength to remember to pray! Ask God to show you your own inadequacy, not that it might cause anxiety, but replace it by removing the illusion you could ever handle your life in the first place.