HAT does it mean to watch? Defined secularly it means to be alert, attentive, careful and cautious. If we stay awake, remain vigilant, maintain devotion and live expectantly – that fits with what it should mean to be watching. To be watchful (spiritually) is simply to be on the lookout for what God is doing next. Of course, we should be looking for Christ's return, that is foundational and fundamental to this whole concept. But, in what ways will this attitude influence our daily decisions?
Jesus began this discourse with the words "Take heed" and ended it with injunction to "Watch!" (Mark 13:5 & 37). Do you think maybe He wants us to pay attention? I think so. Jesus was the greatest prophecy teacher of all time. In fact, He was the greatest prophet of all time. But His prophecies were never just informative. Exemplifying perfect preaching habits, He always called people into action. In this case, He was attempting to influence the overall perspective and demeanor of every believer in every era.
Admittedly, Jesus was speaking to a very specific group and about a very specific point in the future. He spoke to the Jews about the conditions just prior to His own 2nd Advent. But His doctrine is classic and exceedingly practical. Notice some of the simple admonitions that we find here. Expect the world to be full of trouble, preach the gospel, depend on the Holy Ghost, be faithful, expect resistance, don't listen to the devil or to his disciples and live like you will be called on to answer for your life at any moment. Those truth should be enough to keep us busy for sure. They should motivate us to live circumspectly. They should remind us to "watch and pray" (Mark 13:33).