Thrive: We Work – Katie McKown


“Keep awake therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”
—Matthew 24:42 (NRSV)

It is a famed pastime to predict when Jesus will return. Who knows when Jesus will return? Scripture tells us “only the Father.” (Matthew 24:36) Perhaps then we should shift attention from when Jesus will return to how to live while we wait “for [we] do not know on what day [our] Lord is coming.” Obsession with “when” hurts the “how.”

Jesus will return and all will be made well—thanks be to God! In the meantime, however, we have got to keep awake and be busy about Jesus’ work. We have to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the world.

Fanny Crosby’s “To the Work” is a favorite hymn of my church, Scottsville Baptist. I love listening to the congregation sing this song because I know they mean it:

To the work! To the work! Let the hungry be fed;
To the fountain of life let the weary be led;
In the cross and its banner our glory shall be,
While we herald the tidings, “Salvation is free!”

I see my church members feeding the hungry, caring for the hungry, and knowing the names of the hungry every Thursday morning. Last December as I was preaching about the second Advent and asked (rhetorically I thought!) “What do we do until Jesus returns?” A six-year old girl piped up and said “WE WORK!”


Toiling on; toiling on; toiling on, toiling on, toiling on, toiling on, toiling on, toiling on;
Let us hope, and trust,
let us watch, and pray,
And labor till the Master comes.

Fanny’s chorus doesn’t give an inch, and there is a reason we sing “toiling on” seven times. We don’t know when Jesus will return, so in the meantime we do his work: We forgive (toiling on), love (toiling on), feed (toiling on), listen (toiling on), share meals (toiling on), extend grace (toiling on), and make peace (toiling on).

What do we do until Jesus returns? We work!

Let us hope, and trust,
let us watch, and pray,
And labor till the Master comes.

katie mckown_smKatie McKown is the pastor of Scottsville Baptist Church in Scottsville, Virginia. She is a graduate of George W. Truett Theological Seminary in Waco. Katie enjoys blogging at Hermeneutics in High Heels and cheering for the Washington Nationals.

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  1. Belinda Culberson says

    Beautifully expressed, Pastor Katie!