Be on the alert then, because you do not know the day nor the hour.Matthew 25:13
I recall when I was a member of the Boy Scouts, and I wouldn’t go as far to say that I was a stellar scout; average or mediocre probably describes it best. Still, I remember the scout motto that our scoutmaster drilled into us, which was “Be prepared.” The idea was to always have a plan of action in mind in response to times of crisis, to expect the unexpected.
For example, every family member should know what actions to take should a fire break out in their home. Being awakened by the smoke alarm at two o’clock in the morning is not the time to think about what you should do because those precious minutes could cost you your life.
In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus shared a parable about preparedness. It featured ten bridesmaids waiting for the bridegroom’s arrival by night, but they did not know the hour of his arrival. They took lamps to light the way for the bridegroom to his bride. However, only five women took extra oil for their lamps.
At midnight, they heard that the groom was on his way, but the lamps of the foolish five women were now low on oil. While they went off to purchase more oil, the groom arrived and took the remaining bridesmaids to the wedding feast, and when they entered, the Bible states he “shut the door.”
When the other maidens who went to purchase oil arrived at the celebration, they knocked at the door, saying, “Lord, lord, open up for us.” The goom replied, “Truly I say to you, I do not know you,” and they were not allowed to enter and join the celebration.
The Bible refers to Jesus as the bridegroom and the church as his bride. A day is approaching when the Lord will come to gather His bride for the wedding feast. It is commonly referred to among Christians as the church’s rapture, which means to be caught up or swept away. It will be a time when those dead in Christ and those who believe among the living shall rise and meet Jesus in the clouds.
Like the bridesmaids who did not know when the bridegroom would arrive, neither do we know the day nor the hour of our Lord’s arrival. Just as the prudent women took extra oil, we must ensure we are attentive in our faith to keep our light, the light of Christ, shining brightly in the darkness of this fallen world.
If we allow our faith to dwindle and our light to fade, then we might find ourselves standing one day before Jesus saying, “Lord, Lord, let us in. Did we not prophesy in Your name, …, and in Your name perform many miracles?” In other words, “Lord, Lord, did we not go to church every Sunday, did we not tithe regularly, and say ‘praise Jesus’?” However, Jesus will say, “I never knew you. Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.”
So what do we learn from Jesus’s parable? What is the takeaway for us to put into a life application? To always be prepared for the Lord’s soon and imminent arrival. “How do we do that?” you ask. We do that by having a genuine personal relationship with the Lord, living a life pleasing to God, studying God’s word daily, and through prayer. Yes, let us be prepared and cling to our faith, for the day of our Lord is drawing ever so near.
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