I received a revelation about the importance of preparation (excuse the rhyme) the day the buses went on strike.
I was on my way to work when I realised that my regular commuter friends were not at our bus stop. I then remembered that I had been alerted about a strike some days before.
Now, if this happened a few months ago, I would have been
doomed late. However, my current aim is to be early for everything (which I’m failing at terribly), so I now leave five minutes earlier for work. This may sound short, but it gives me peace of mind knowing that I won’t miss my train. On that fateful day, I was glad because I had five extra minutes to walk to the station to catch my train on time.
As I began my journey, it came to me.
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ 10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Although my little situation can never be compared to the scope of the coming of Christ portrayed in the Parable of the Ten Virgins, the lesson that I learnt is still the same: one key to success is preparation. I had prepared for the unexpected, and was very glad that I did. But this made me ask myself:
What does it mean to prepare for the coming of Christ?
By taking flasks of oil, the 5 wise women had prepared. The foolish five did not consider the possibility of the bridegroom coming when they least expected him. Which groom would arrive to his wedding at midnight? We too do not know the time of Christ’s return, but whilst we wait, we must prepare. This includes:
Believing and accepting his love whole-heartedly.
‘For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’
To put it simply, making a decision to believe in Christ will lead to eternal life for without condemnation, regardless of what you have and haven’t done. After all, Jesus came to save the sinners and not the righteous.
We must also have a relationship with him.
There’s a difference between knowing and knowing of someone. Remember that time you would regularly ‘stalk’ that someone on social media (we’ve all done it) without having exchanged many (or any) words with them. I’m sure that the last thing on your mind would be to pay them a visit. This is because although you may know things about them – thanks to their regular posts and status updates – they don’t know you.
Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, “Lord, lord, open to us.” But he answered, “Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.”
But think about it. What if your Facebook/Twitter/Instagram stalker appeared at your doorstep, asking to come in? I’m sure you would reject them, because I too would (apologetically) shut the door in their face.
So why shouldn’t God do the same? You may know Genesis through to Revelation, be knowledgeable about the history of the bible and you may even attend church every Sunday, without fail. But if you don’t speak to him, how will you hear from him? Friends speak regularly, laugh together, have deep conversations, fulfil each other’s wishes and also share secrets. Pause and reflect on your relationship with God. Is it genuine? Or do you call on him whenever you are in need or because you have been told to?
As I walked to the station, I asked myself: Am I really prepared for the coming of Christ? Can I gladly say I’m preparing for His coming like I prepare to catch trains, revise for exams, etc.?
I would encourage you to also question yourselves. As great as preparing for these things just mentioned may be, everything that you prepare for on earth is meaningless if you neither accept him nor develop a relationship before the coming of Christ.
“Watch therefore [give strict attention and be cautious and active], for you know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of Man will come.”
(Matthew 25:13 AMP)