Have you ever really looked forward to an event, or an occasion, only to find that when the time finally arrived, circumstances prevented you from attending?
My “big” brother is twelve years older than me. When Ray was married, my younger brother and I had chickenpox, so we were unable to be a part of his wedding. Bad timing! Graeme and I sat in the car outside the church during the service. So disappointing!
Jesus once told a story about some young women who also missed out on a wedding!
“At that time the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. Matthew 25:1-5
We don’t need to fully understand the many differences between weddings back then and now to appreciate the message behind this story. This story is all about missing out through our own carelessness.
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ vss.6-9
Even if you’re not familiar with the story, you can see where this is heading. It’s not going to end well for those careless girls!
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ vs. 10-12 Jesus leaves us in no doubt as to the lesson he is teaching: “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” v.13
Many Christians seem to have a fascination with trying to anticipate the timing of Jesus’ return. Some have appeared foolish when the date they nominated came and passed, with no sign of Jesus. He has made it very clear: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” – Matthew 24:36
Today’s story tells us not to waste time in fruitless speculation. Rather, we should make sure we are ready and prepared to meet Jesus whenever he decides to return. This is one occasion we certainly won’t want to miss! How prepared are you?
PRAYER: Forgive us Father for our carelessness and complacency. As we wait for the return of your Son help us to be prepared at all times. And in the meantime, continue to show us ways we can serve you, and those amongst whom you have placed us, so they too may be prepared to greet Jesus, in whose name we pray. AMEN
SONG: Crown Him with Many Crowns https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s7OCs0d_4vM