In this chapter of Matthew we find Jesus describing what the end times will be like. Many people have uses this chapter and many others from the Bible to create a checklist of events which will usher in the end of times and return of Christ. It is easy to see how this would be done, as there are many details offered. These are details which have been playing out since Christ spoke them. Yet we seem to still be waiting. Every era of people have determined the end to be near, and it may well be. The second half of the passage, however, is very important to lift up.
Jesus is clear that while all these signs might happen, the exact time and day are not known. Only God knows the timing of all these things. As we read through the chapter we find the point is not the details of the return, rather that we should be living lives that are always ready for that day. Like the book of Revelation there are details here one can understand and others that cannot be, but the main message is the same. Christ is coming again, and we are to be ready. There is a great deal of energy spent on trying to figure out when all this will happen. There is still more energy spent of figuring out how it will all happen. Still others spend energy on figuring out who will get in and who will be left out. The reality is all that energy should be spent on living the Kingdom life to which God has called us. We do not know when it will happen, we do not know how it will happen, and it is not our role to determine who will end up where. Our vocation, if you will, is to live our lives so deeply connected to God through Christ, empowered by the Holy Spirit, that we are ready for that day whenever it comes.