The Lord's Return

("Glue together till I come back")

"Glue together till I come back"

A family came tumbling pell-mell into our compartment, returning from a seaside holiday. They were a healthy crowd of boys and girls with a merry looking father and a somewhat anxious looking mother; she probably had good cause for her anxiety for her young brood looked quite capable of daring deeds. We were en route for Edinburgh and a connection had to be made there by this family for the west; the time between the trains was little enough, and numerous trunks were packed in the luggage van. It was the father's business to attend to these, and as he dashed off to do so he said to his family, in a tone which was a command, "Glue together till I come back." It was a sensible command, for anyone could see what trouble the father would have had and what time would have been lost if on returning he had found his family scattered; and it was a needed command, for those youngsters had wills of their own, and looked as though they liked to exercise them independently of each other, but the father's authority controlled them. I watched to see if they would obey, and they did; I was delighted, and hope they got their train.

The father's words to his family glued themselves to me. They sounded so much like other words, words that should be for ever sacred and precious to Christian hearts because they fell from the lips of the Lord whom we love. The burden of His parting words to His disciples was, "Love one another till I return." "Glue together!" Several reasons are given for this. Said He: —

"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another."

"These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hates you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you."

"That they all may be one that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me."

Cogent reasons these why the followers of the Lord should "glue together" during His absence.

Consider them: —
1. He commands it.
2. Because He loves them.
3. That all may know that they are His disciples.
4. Because the world hates them because they belong to Him.

That the world may believe that the Father sent the Son.

Other reasons could be cited why those who are the objects of the Lord's love should "glue together," and not the least is that He is waiting to hear the cry, "Come, Lord Jesus," from hearts united by love to Him. Some ignore these great reasons for loving cohesion on the part of the saints of God and would substitute rules and regulations, would build again little folds for keeping the sheep together, but these things only militate against true cohesion; they divide the saints instead of binding them together. He is coming back, the time of His absence is drawing to its close. Do we not feel that it is an unspeakable shame that His disciples have forgotten His word and not kept it, that they have not "glued together" during His absence, but have quarrelled and divided, and scattered, to their loss and dishonour and to His grief?

So much so that if He were not the Lord who knoweth them that are His and where to find them, He would have much difficulty at His coming to gather them together again in one. This sort of thing began very early in the history of the church, as the first epistle to the Corinthians proves and if it was easy for the flesh and Satan to work their evil way then we need not marvel at it now; yet the blame is entirely ours. We certainly have no cause for self-congratulation on this line, but plenty of cause for deep heart-searching and self-condemnation as we dwell upon the fact that in spite of His love and His command we have not "glued together."

The Practical effect of the Truth

It has been urged that over-much occupation with the truth of the Second Coming of the Lord tends to make Christians unpractical, and indifferent to the welfare of others. A great preacher of the last century, in speaking of this, said he felt inclined to say to certain people who made much of this truth, "Ye men of — — , why stand ye gazing into heaven?" But the very opposite effect to this is the truth, where it is HIMSELF that is looked for, and not a mere doctrine held. This is clearly taught, by the Lord's own words in Luke 12. There, in view of His coming, He urges His disciples to be waiting and watching for Him, but while they wait and watch they are to work. His interests are to occupy them and the reality of the hope of His return would be seen by their care for His interests during His absence.

A simple illustration will make this plain. It is necessary for a mother to leave her children for a while, and as she puts the good-bye kiss upon their lips she says, "I will come back soon," and if she has the opportunity of sending a message to them during her absence, the burden of it is, "I will come back soon." She knows well that nothing will star the hearts of her children and please them more than that word. Yes, but in the message her own desire breaks out! It is because she longs for them and yearns to see and embrace them again that she sends such a message to them. And what can cheer her more during her separation from them than to know that they are longing to see her, and echoing her own message, "Come back soon." Even so it is with the Lord and every true-hearted saint in Revelation 22.

But in that little household there is Mary, the eldest of those young children. Not only is there expectation in her heart, but a sense of responsibility too. It is love that has put both there. She loves her mother, and so she longs to see her, again; she loves her mother, and so she will not be idle, for she wants everything in the home to be ready for her return. And the love for her mother and the time she has spent in her company has made her very sensible as to what will please her, so the home is kept clean and the children are dressed and ready. Mother may come any time now, she will find them WAITING.

But how often they go to the door and peer out of the window; they cannot sit still — mother will soon be here, and they are eager for a sight of her, and as the day wears on they become more eager and expectant. They are a WATCHING as well as a waiting family, and it is their love for their mother that makes them so.

But what is Mary doing? While she waits for her mother, she slips first into this room and then into that to make sure that nothing is out of place, and most of all she keeps her eye on the younger children; not a speck must be on them when the mother returns. She must feed them, for this is of greater importance than a spotless house, and keep them out of mischief, and as their minds wander to other things — for an infant's pleasure is continually changing — she continually reminds them that mother is coming, and so she keeps alive their interest in this greatest of all events to her. She waits and she watches like the rest, but she WORKS also. She is faithful to her trust. Blessed is Mary when her mother comes. She has a two-fold happiness. Not only is her mother back again, but she has said, "Well done!" to her faithful daughter. She has the joy of her mother's presence and the satisfaction of her mother's approbation.

This surely is what we get in the Lord's words in this closing chapter of the Bible: "Behold, I come quickly, and My reward is with Me to give to every man according as his work shall be." And again: "Behold, I come quickly; blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this Book." Has the Lord's love to me affected me as the mother's love affected her daughter? Let each reader ask himself that question. If so, I shall not be an unpractical and lazy Christian; I shall be watching, waiting and working, and my heart will go out to all whom He loves, and I shall not be satisfied with being ready to greet Him myself when He comes, but I shall be anxious that all His own may be ready too, because I know that thus He would have it. There is no truth in the whole of Scripture that could have a greater effect upon us or make us labour more diligently than this.