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!
But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7-11
After having lunch with a friend today I realized my own selfishness. While catching up with our lives, not once had I given glory to God. As I continued to reflect, I had to ask myself where was my faith? Our physical life is not a test but rather a testimony – and our spiritual disciplines really are important. If in Christ we have hope, the expectation that things yet unseen or experienced will manifest in our lives. Then to live according to this hope, is to live with a testimony that the presence of Christ lives within us. Our living is our testimony. Sometimes however in the chaos of living we forget to speak the Word, to proclaim God’s glory with our mouths. For the believer, regardless of our situations, failures and successes, every new day is hope and every day we live is a testimony. Remember daily to Speak the Word.
2 Corinthians 4:7-11 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. For while we live, we are always being given up to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh.
John 12:20-26 Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.
It’s no mystery that there are times when something has to die in order for something different to emerge. By the same token, whether we like it or not, our birth creates change for someone or some situation. Yet throughout life we resist change for various reasons, but they all fall under one category, fear. We are afraid that we are going to lose something or that we will inherit something of which we are uncertain that we want. Of course I am not solely referring to physical death, but also things that simply need to end. This includes the things we want in our relationships. Jesus knew that his (physical) end was inevitable. He understood that with the separation of his body from the relationship he had with his disciples, was the expectation of the glorification of God and the gift of the Holy Spirit for all who believed. What might we be holding on to in our relationships that is keeping us or the other person from blossoming into the person God has called us to be or simply experiencing something greater that God has intended? How do we know when it is time to change? Perhaps when we begin to ask these questions is the beginning of knowing when change needs to take place.
Job 42:1-2 Then Job answered the Lord: ‘I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.