Monday, November 7, 2011

Are We Ready?

The message Jesus is teaching in Matthew’s gospel is about being ready? The ten bridesmaids were waiting for the groom to come to the bride’s house. They thought they knew when he was going to arrive but they were wrong, and they fell asleep. Maybe they even forgot to turn down their lamps.

At any rate they weren’t quite ready when they heard the call that the groom was on his way. Of course they’d been sleeping so they had to get their makeup straightened out. They wanted to look their best when the groom came to their friend’s house.

Since the groom didn’t arrive when they had planned of course their lamps used more oil. So, they had to refill their lamps so they could see to primp. But some didn’t plan for that and they had to go buy some more oil.

The groom came and they missed him. The door closed and it couldn’t be opened for those who weren’t ready. It’s really kind of sad and it doesn’t seem fair. Because it wasn’t their fault that the groom was late, was it?

You may have figured out already that this parable is about the coming again of our Lord, Jesus. He is the groom and the bridesmaids are those who are waiting for the Savior to return, us and everyone around us. Some are ready and some aren’t.

So, we know that much but have you ever thought, “What’s the significance of the oil? What does the oil signify?”

Let’s give that some thought and try to understand why having enough oil was important.

The groom is Jesus and we are the bridesmaids waiting for the groom to arrive. So, this is us today. What do we need so that we’re prepared for Jesus’ return? What’s our oil? What do we need to keep the fire burning? Exactly what do we need to be sure that we have a good supply of so that we’re ready whenever Jesus returns? What fire do we have to keep going so that we’re ready when the Groom arrives?

What do you think you’d need to have a good supply of? I think that Paul said it in the words we heard today, “We believe that Jesus died and that he rose again.” First we must believe. Believe that Jesus died and rose again and in order to believe we’ve got to have faith.

So I would have you think about the oil in the bridesmaids lamps as being faith. How can we be sure that we have enough faith? We can’t generate more faith. We aren’t able to make our faith stronger so what are we to do? I want to be sure that I have enough oil in my lamp, don’t you? So where’s more oil? Where do we get more faith?

Since you and I can’t manufacture more faith I believe that they only way I can be sure of having enough is to be in conversation with our Father, God all the time. If we are close to God each and every day, even when we don’t feel like it or we don’t necessarily feel his presence, I believe that our faith will be sufficient to carry us to that day when Christ returns.

But that’s not going to happen if we aren’t working on our relationship with God, being in his word, taking time to talk with Him, taking time to listen for his voice, and serving Him wherever he leads us.

There will be some who say, “I can’t do that. It will take me away from my family, my friends.” Friends, that may be what Jesus meant when he said we have to die to our old selves and be born again. That may be what he meant when he said we have to give our all to him, pick up the cross and follow him. All of this may be the oil in our lamps. What do you think?

Friends, I pray that all of our lamps are trimmed and full of oil when our Lord returns again. God loves you my friends and so do I. Thanks be to God. Amen.

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