USA Today.com ® and a host of other media outlets recently reported at least two documented instances of air traffic controllers sleeping on the job. Allegedly, one controller went to the extreme of actually bringing a blanket to work and slept for at least five hours. Fortunately, there were no recorded injuries or near-misses attributed to this ‘snoozing while on duty’ but it is troubling nonetheless. Not surprisingly, the FAA and the air traffic controllers’ union are engaged in heated debates over who is really at fault and why. I venture to say that if the truth were told, these folks are not the only ones who’ve napped on job. On the other hand, unlike controllers, most of us don't have the safety and wellbeing of others in our hands. Yet it is disturbing to think that people, can and will, fall asleep and leave their duties unattended – perhaps assuming that someone else will keep watch.
The gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke record three instances where people were discovered sleeping on the job. Knowing that the time of His death was at hand, Jesus took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray.
Then saith he unto them, “My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.”
And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou [wilt].”
And he cometh unto the disciples, and findeth them asleep, and saith unto Peter,“What, could ye not watch with me one hour?
Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed [is] willing, but the flesh [is] weak.” Matthew 26: 38-41
Unbeknownst to the sleeping disciples, Jesus was preparing Himself for indescribable torture leading up to a horrific death. While Jesus was disappointed that the disciples failed to remain awake, He also knew that the time was coming when these same sleepy men would awaken and spread the good news throughout the known world. Of the twelve disciples, only John lived to a ripe old age, all the others – with the exception of Judas – died martyrs willing sacrifices for the call of Jesus Christ.
Let’s face it is easy to be lulled into a type of sleep when confronted by the issues before our nation – indeed our world: war, lawlessness, economic stresses, natural and man-made disasters, on and on it goes. Our minds become dulled to what we hear and what we see, so the notion of sleeping on the job isn’t as farfetched as it might seem. As with the disciples, Jesus commands us to “watch and pray.” As Christians, we must be vigilant to our calling and not allow ourselves to sleepwalk through life.
As surely as Christ left this earth, He will one day return. When He returns what will He find? Will He find us about our Father’s business or will we be caught sleeping on the job?
“[For the Son of man is] as a man taking a far journey, who left his house, and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch.
Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:
Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.
And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” Mark 13: 34-37
Amen and Amen
King James Version