Smoke Detectors and Jesus’ Return

By Linda Porter Carlyle

MacKenzie Isabelle Evans, Joseph’s next door neighbor and good friend, sat quietly in the pew at church. She looked quiet on the outside, that is. But inside, she was filled with tingly excitement. The summer sun poured through the windows and filled the church with light. And that’s exactly how Mac felt on the inside—all bright and warm.

Joseph leaned over. “Are you nervous?” he whispered.

Mac shook her head. “Of course not!” she whispered back.

Pastor Chuck looked at the congregation and smiled. “We have a very special feature this morning,” he said. “MacKenzie Evans, would you please come up here?” he asked.

Mac bounced out of her seat. She smoothed her new plaid skirt and walked carefully to the front of the church to stand next to Pastor Chuck. Pastor Chuck took a special hat out of a bag he was holding and gave it to Mac. Mac put it on her head.

“Last Sabbath I asked the Primary kids to think of different ways to help explain their memory verse. Miss Mac came up with a very good idea, and I asked her if she would share it with all of you. Mac, can you first tell us the memory verse we were discussing in class?” Pastor Chuck held the microphone in front of her mouth.

Mac didn’t say anything for a minute. She was looking at the sunlight shining in on the church members. It glinted on Grandma Maddie’s hair. Grandma Maddie (G.M.) and Mrs. Woodson looked like they were wearing halos.

“Mac?” prompted Pastor Chuck. “Can you tell us the memory verse?”

“Sure!” Mac said, paying attention again. “ ‘Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.’ ” She looked at Pastor Chuck. “It means we should always be waiting for when Jesus comes back,” she went on. “It’s just like smoke detectors!”

There was a little ripple of laughter in the congregation.

“Maybe you could expand on that idea—make it a tiny bit more clear,” Pastor Chuck said with an encouraging smile.

“Well,” Mac began, “if you know that Jesus is going to come back, but you don’t watch for Him then it’s like you have a smoke detector in your house with an old, worn-out battery. It won’t work. It isn’t any good if your house catches on fire.

“My dad told me that every year lots of people die because their houses catch on fire,” Mac went on. “And night is the most dangerous time for fires because some people don’t get warned and wake up before it’s too late to get out of their house. But if you have a smoke detector that works, it can wake you up if there’s a fire, and you can escape. Just like if you are waiting and watching for Jesus to come back, you can be safe and escape when the whole world is burned up!”

“What do you want to be when you grow up, Mac?” Pastor Chuck asked with a twinkle in his eye.

“A fire fighter!” Mac exclaimed. Her red curls bobbed in enthusiasm.

“It sounds as if you have learned some important things about fire fighting already. Maybe you could give everybody some helpful tips this morning about smoke alarms,” Pastor Chuck suggested.

“Sure!” Mac said with a grin. “Everybody should have at least one smoke alarm on each floor of their house. And they should be high up on the walls or on the ceiling because smoke rises. And you should put new batteries in them at least once a year. And you should never, ever borrow the batteries out of smoke alarms to use them in something else and leave the smoke alarm with no battery at all!” Mac paused for a breath. “And you should keep them clean and never paint over them!” she finished.

“Thank you, Mac!” Pastor Chuck said with a big smile. “That is very good information! One more thing though. Can you tell us the very best way that we can watch and be ready for Jesus’ return?”

Mac grinned. “Read your Bible and pray—every single day!” she answered promptly.

Pastor Chuck pulled one of Mac’s curls. “Thank you very much!” he said. He looked at the congregation. “There is a text that says, ‘A little child shall lead them.’ I hope everybody here today will follow this child’s wise advice.”

The whole congregation applauded.

Mac scurried back down the aisle and slid into her seat.

“You did really good!” Joseph whispered in her ear.

Mac giggled. “When school starts and we have to write about what we did on our summer vacation, I’m going to write that I was a preacher!” she whispered back.

What do you do to make sure the smoke detectors in your house are working? Does your family have an escape plan in case of a fire? Where are you going to meet together outside the house? Things might be scary around the time Jesus comes back, but the people who have gotten to know Him and trust Him don’t have anything to worry about. How do you get to know Jesus and trust Him? Mac gives us a very good answer in this story.—Mrs. Sox

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