“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him." -- Matthew 24:42-44
We used to live in a neighborhood that had a fair amount of criminal activity. From the time we moved there I took definite defensive steps to be prepared in the event of a robbery. Twenty crime free years passed without incident, but I was no less expectant at the end than I was at the beginning. I didn't live in fear, I just remained ready.
The Lord chose this very picture to illustrate his imminent return. He will return for his church and after seven years of tribulation, he will return to bring judgment on unbelievers and reign on his throne, as detailed in this chapter and the next. Whether the wait is for the catching up of his church or his return to reign, careless living would be most unwise. It's best to be expectant and remain ready.
As believers, we await the Lord's coming in the clouds; the rapture of the church (Acts 1:11/1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). For us, the judgment seat of Christ is coming (2 Corinthian 5:10). This day will show the quality of our work for Christ (1 Corinthians 3:13). Are you ready for such a moment? If you don't know Christ as your Savior, this chapter speaks a sure warning to you. The day will come when one will be left to live and serve in the kingdom, and another will be taken into eternal judgment where there will be "weeping and gnashing of teeth". Are you ready for that day?