It has come to a point of mutual agreement. I’m an on-or-before-time person. My beloved is always needing extra time to get away. In my childhood I remember dad sitting in the 1949 Chev outside our fibro house leaning on the horn when mum was running behind time.
Not for me, my life is worth living and she (who is only occasionally obeyed) is beloved. So “five more minutes” has entered our vocabulary and our mutual experience. But I’m sneaky. I set our departure time ten minutes in advance so that the five make no difference to our on-time arrival.
And as we progress (regress?) towards life’s big departure, I often wonder if “five more minutes” will apply when the angel arrives with the bye-bye vehicle. Jesus parable may give us a clue:
“Who then is the faithful and wise steward, whom his master will set over his household, to give them their portion of food at the proper time? Blessed is that servant whom his master when he comes will find so doing. Truly I say to you, he will set him over all his possessions.
But if that servant says to himself, ‘my master is delayed in coming,’ and begins to beat the menservants and maidservants , and to eat and drink and get drunk, the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know, and will punish him, and put him with the unfaithful.
And that servant who knew his master’s will, but did not make ready or act according to his will shall receive a severe beating. But he who did not know and did what deserved a beating shall receive a light beating. Everyone to whom much is given, of him shall much be required; and of him to whom men commit much they will demand the more.”
Is this about “Joe Tough God” giving you stick when you die? Hardly, its about being ready for that day when departure from this sphere of existence occurs. If there’s any stick it will be us beating up on ourselves for lost opportunities to do what is needed. How to be ready? Looking after those who are given as our responsibility. Those who need “feeding”. Real physical hunger is hardly evident in our society but the hunger for meaning, relationship, belonging and identity is ever-present and needs to be satisfied.
What I suspect Jesus is asking of us here is to put aside our “five more minutes” when it comes to fulfilling the hunger others have in themselves. To have our lives full of service to others and to be at it until our moment comes, is not only to have a meaningful existence for ourselves, but it is to enrich the world around us and to be trusted servants of the very person who, though our creator, became our servant to leave us the example to follow in his steps. That is setting your eternal clock ten minutes in advance. Good move.