A Surprise Visit

A Surprise Visit

by Rob Appel 

A school superintendent was concerned about the disorder he found in so many classrooms. He decided to take action and chose one class as an experiment.

He made a proposal to the students, “I would like each of you to clean out your desk today and resolve to keep it clean. I will return one day and inspect your desks, and the person with the neatest desk will be given $100. I won’t tell you which day it will be. It will be a surprise.” The children were excited and began to tidy up their desks.

During the first week every student checked their desk to make sure it was in perfect order. The following week a few grew tired of the waiting, and returned to their old habits. After a month all but one student was sure he wasn’t coming back. One little girl believed the promise, and every day she made sure here things were neat.

The other students teased her, “Why do you keep your desk clean? You can’t possibly believe he is coming back!” Even with that taunting, she remained diligent and kept her desk in perfect order.

Near the end of the school year the superintendent returned. Students started trying to clean their desks but the superintendent told them to stop. He then started the inspection. One-by-one he rejected the cleanliness of each desk. Some of the children tried giving excuses, and one boy even blamed the superintendent for making them wait so long!

Finally, the superintendent arrived at the desk of the little girl. She beamed with confidence as she stood by her desk. The superintendent then led her to the front of the classroom. He took out a crisp $100 dollar bill and gave it to her and said, “Boys and girls, this student never stopped believing that I would return. She kept her desk in perfect order and she did not have to worry one little bit about what month, what day, or even what time of the day I would arrive, because she was always ready. Always!”


       Ready is the key word from this illustration and the word from Luke 12:40. He writes it very plainly, “You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.”

Oswald Chambers writes in his book My Utmost For His Highest about Our Lord’s Surprise Visits: “A Christian worker’s greatest need is a readiness to face Jesus Christ at any and every turn. This is not easy, no matter what our experience has been… Jesus rarely comes where we expect Him; He appears where we least expect Him, and always in the most illogical situations. The only way a servant can remain true to God is to be ready for the Lord’s surprise visits. This readiness will not be brought about by service, but through intense spiritual reality, expecting Jesus Christ at every turn. This sense of expectation will give our life the attitude of childlike wonder He wants it to have. If we are going to be ready for Jesus Christ, we have to stop being religious. In other words, we must stop using religion as if it were some kind of a lofty lifestyle—we must be spiritually real.”

       So how do we get ready for Jesus? Like the little girl in our illustration, it takes daily preparation. We are to keep our lives clean and repent daily so we are ready for His return. We must acknowledge that we are in need of God’s grace through Christ. Repentance is the act of turning away from our sin lives and into a new life in Christ.

We also must be ready for those times where we are confronted by someone that we might be uncomfortable with. You know, the homeless, the street people, someone from another ethnic group, the ones we stereotype. We never know what Jesus might look like, or one of His angels.

Jesus says, “Therefore you also must be ready; for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” Like the little girl who kept her desk clean, we must clean out ourselves so we are ready for our Lord’s surprise visits.


Next Month: Faith – Not Emotion

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