He … called to him those whom he wanted…  I was new at school and like so many other gym classes where the teacher decides who gets to be the captains to choose teams while the rest of us wait to be chosen, this wasn’t any different. Never mind the fact that I was actually pretty good at sports, nobody knew me and they weren’t willing to take the chance. So I sit and wait until close to the end. Apparently, I couldn’t be any worse than the few who were left and finally I am chosen for a team. Yet there were still others behind me waiting to be chosen and I never thought about how they must have felt. Of course on the other hand they may not have really cared. Either way, everyone would eventually be chosen. Sometimes in this life when we do care and when it really matters, it can feel like we are waiting forever to be chosen. We are blessed to serve a God that knows us and has already chosen us – one who waits for us to be ready, and choose to serve God with the gifts already given us.

Refilling the Lamps

There are some kinds of oil you can’t borrow from anyone else. There are some kinds of preparation we can only do for ourselves, reserves that no one else can build up for us. We have to figure out what fills us up, spiritually, and then make sure we have the oil we need to carry with us, every single minute of the day, because that’s how often we’ll need it. We carry that oil so that others might see that the lamp that is within is not only lit – but shining brightly! Some days we are going to be caught off guard. Yet, if we find ourselves running out of oil we must take time to fill it up, we refill the lamp of our heart and mind with the mercy and blessings of God, and that’s what we take with us everyday.

…go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.  …for you know neither the day nor the hour (Matthew 25:1-13).

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The “Right” Hour

And what should I say – Father save me from this hour?   John 12:27-36a  Despite the fact that we sometimes have to wait, all good things happen at the “right” hour. It’s not necessarily important that we are “fully” prepared for everything that is about to happen because in reality we really don’t know all of what is about to happen. What’s important is that God believes that we are prepared enough. Once we have done everything that could be done up to the point of receiving any gift or blessing, at that hour we must be ready to simply say yes – as we continue to have faith in God who will help us with the rest.

Clean Underwear

Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.  Matthew 25:1-13  In some ways this sounds like the beginning of a joke. However, by the time you finish hearing the parable you know that it’s anything but. All ten of those bridesmaids knew that the bridegroom was coming. Yet, even today the reality of the parable is that when the time comes, some will not be prepared. I’m reminded of the time my mother told me to always have on clean underwear just in case I got hit by a car – or something! Although mom’s instruction was good enough for me, it really hit home years later when I was on call as a chaplain in a trauma unit. A young woman was brought in after being in a car accident. When the nurse cut off her clothes revealing her underwear, those of us who could see, all had the same look on our faces. My guess is we were all thinking of our mother’s warning. Prayerfully and thankfully the woman would fully recover from her injuries. I realized that although I don’t live expecting to be hit by a car, without thought, I daily heed my mother’s instruction. As believers, how much more so should we heed God’s instruction to be wisely prepared, as we live with the expectation of the coming Messiah? Keep Awake – because at that expected hour there won’t be an opportunity to recover!