Ready or Not

The panic that comes with realizing you have arrived somewhere and have forgotten something vital can be likened to a tidal wave getting ready to crash down on your head.

A mere 3 days ago, I left a charger cord for a medical device at my folks’ house, which is 3 hours away. I have to turn in the medical device, and if all parts, with identifying serial numbers, are not returned, I face a $2500 charge. So, feeling like I was in 9th grade and had forgotten my science project on presentation day, I called mom and asked if she could please send me the charger. In typical mom fashion, she made it happen in record time.

Fast forward to today when my adult daughter forgot something of great importance that was needed for an appointment she had. She called. “MOM! Can you bring it RIGHT NOW?” “I’ll be right there” was my answer.

This happens, right? We forget stuff: to put gas in the car, math homework for school, part of a uniform for a game or performance, a toothbrush on a trip…I even had a girlfriend forget her whole suitcase when she went out of town! If you have never forgotten anything, I want to meet you!

There are also times that even when we were brought the forgotten items, we still suffered some sort of penalty…we had to wait for hours on the side of the road for someone to bring us gas; we got a letter grade lower in school for turning it in late; our teeth got crusty until we could get a toothbrush, or we had to wear our travel clothes for longer than we planned/ go somewhere inappropriately dressed.

The apostle Matthew, in chapter 25:1-13, records Jesus’s admonition to make sure we are ready for His return so that we don’t have to suffer the penalty of being separated from Him and the eternal celebration in heaven. We learn from the Bible that although Jesus came the first time as a humble servant to be our Savior, He will return as a victorious King to gather His followers to take us to heaven. We don’t know when that will be, so He urges us to be ready at all times. To be ready, we accept Him as our personal Savior, and then live as He did: loving God first, and putting others before ourselves. He also wants us to share the Good News with those who don’t know Him that they too can be with Him forever if they accept Him as their Savior.

To illustrate the need for being prepared at all times for His coming, Jesus gives a parable of 10 bridesmaids awaiting the bridegroom. In Jesus’s time, the groom would go prepare a home for he and his bride to live together after they were wed. No one had a timeframe of when that home would be complete, but they received word when it was near completion. They didn’t know how long it would take him to actually finish and arrive given the travel and what all he might be bringing with him. And so, the bride and her bridesmaids stayed ready. In this parable, half of the bridesmaids forgot, or didn’t prepare well, for the lamp oil they would need for the journey. When they heard the groom was on his way, they cried out for help. ‘Please can we borrow some lamp oil from you who prepared well?!’  Whether the five who were prepared and ready were mean girls or just practical, scripture doesn’t say. We only know they didn’t want to get left out when the groom showed up, so they did not let the 5 who were unprepared have any of their oil. Instead, they told them to go buy their own to get themselves ready. Unfortunately, as they were away buying oil, they got penalized for their lack of preparation. The groom arrived, the wedding celebration commenced, and they got shut out.

Jesus is coming back and tells us to be ready: “keep watch because you do not know the day or the hour.” (Matt 25:13) At times, there are things in this life that we are not ready for, or we forget important equipment that we need, but life gives us a mulligan. A do-over. A bailout. A helping hand. Jesus gives us admonitions over and over to be ready for His return. With this one, if we are not ready for His return, there is no do-over, no bailout. Each person is responsible for our own relationship with Jesus, and our own readiness for His return. If you aren’t ready, consider how it will feel to be left out. If you don’t know how to make ready, have a conversation with someone who has a relationship with Jesus and is joyfully and actively preparing for His return. You don’t to miss out on the celebration!

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply