"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." Matthew 25:1-4
With the rising threat of terrorism in the United States, the rules are very clear on what is required for a person to enter any military installation-including Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri where my friends and I were headed early Saturday morning for a 5k race. Unfortunately for me, those soldiers guarding the entrance had not received the order to allow runners to enter for the race and so were adhering to their normal routine and policy-which was to deny entry to anyone without either a pass or two specific forms of identification. And guess what? I didn't have either. I had procrastinated on getting the pass and just assumed that what I had would get me in. I wanted to scream, "Wait! I'm a Christian and an upstanding citizen!" But it would have done no good. I wanted to tell them how my Christian shirt I was wearing proved I was "okay" but that would have done no good either. Neither my friends nor my proclamation of faith could get me in that day. It was too late.
You know my actions were pretty foolish but, thankfully, only resulted in some teasing from my running buddies and missing a race. But the Bible tells us that there is a consequence of immeasurable proportion for the actions of those who wait to do what they need to do-for those that are caught unprepared. In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus tells the story of the ten bridesmaids who went out to meet the bridegroom not knowing when he would arrive. The foolish ones failed to bring enough oil to keep their lamps lit and asked the wise bridesmaids, who had plenty, to borrow some. Denied their request for oil, the unprepared women left to buy some and missed the arrival of the bridegroom. The wise and ready virgins went in with him to the banquet and the door was shut... and it was shut for good. For the foolish and unprepared ladies, it was too late.
Let me assure you of this. Jesus is coming back. And like the ten bridesmaids in the parable, you and I will not know when that time will be. What we do know for certain, though, is this... if we are not ready, if we have not accepted Jesus into our lives when that time comes, the door will shut and it will be too late. Your friends can't get you in. Your spouse can't get you in. And your membership in a church or a running ministry can't get you in. So let me ask you this... are you ready?
Heavenly Father, I thank you for the life lessons that serve to remind us just how bad procrastination and looking to others to do what we should do ourselves can be. Lord, if there's anyone reading this that doesn't have a relationship with you, I pray that today is the day they will make the decision to accept you into their heart and pray this prayer: Lord I confess that I am a sinner in need of your salvation. I confess that you are the one true God and that Jesus Christ is your son sent to save me. I accept you into my heart today to be Lord over my life. Thank you for welcoming me into your family that on the day of your return I will be found ready and granted entry into your banquet. It's in your most precious name we pray, Jesus. Amen.
Are you ready? - Becka Shae