September #jammed: Free Grace.
Day 272: Filled to the brim with grace overflowing.
My morning cup of coffee ushered in the new day. Awake and alert to read from the Life that God left us to ingest, His presence fills my soul to the brim.
Today’s Scripture warns us to stay awake at the end of a parable that Jesus taught about a wedding. It’s a Real Housewives episode waiting to happen.
Jesus: Or picture the kingdom of heaven this way. It will be like ten bridesmaids who each picked up a lantern and went out to meet a certain bridegroom.
We can all picture what it’s like to get ready for a wedding that we are a part of. There is a lot of preparation involved. Weddings aren’t typically planned overnight. Especially no weddings with ten bridesmaids in them, like the example Jesus gives us in this passage.
Five of these women were sensible, good with details, and remembered to bring small flasks of oil for their lanterns. But five of them were flighty, too caught up in the excitement of their jaunt, and forgot to bring oil with them.
Five bridesmaids had it together, and had thought and prepared in advanced. The other five were, “flighty.” Too caught up in catching the bouquet and worrying who they were partnered with …what everyone’s hair looked like and if their nails and makeup coordinated. There are people who truly stand by us in life and others who just want to claim a space. The same is true in the case for faith. A real relationship with Jesus cannot be swiftly and sentimentally wound overnight.
The bridegroom did not turn up right away. Indeed, all the women, while waiting, found themselves falling asleep.
The truth about people is fickleness. We rush to get ready and then complain about the wait. Walking with Christ, we must constantly remember what we are waiting for, preparing for, and living because of.
And then in the middle of the night, they heard someone call, “The bridegroom is here, finally! Wake up and greet him!” The women got up and trimmed the wicks of their lanterns and prepared to go greet the groom.
Who will be ready the moment Jesus comes back? There’s no way to know when that day will come. If it happened in the next 24 hours …would we be ready? Are we prepared?
The five women who had no oil turned to their friends for help.
Ill-prepared Bridesmaids: Please give us some of your oil! Our lanterns are flickering and will go out soon.
But the five women who’d come prepared with oil said they didn’t have enough.
Prepared Bridesmaids: If we give you some of our oil, we’ll all run out too soon! You’d better go wake up a dealer and buy your own supply.
This is the part of the story that makes us want to criticize the selfishness of the friends that will not share their oil, but it’s my favorite lesson that Jesus teaches within this story. It’s not up to our friends to carry us to the foot of the cross.
He calls us each by our own name. He knew all of us and died for all of us by name on that cross. It’s not our friends responsibly to take us to Him or prepare us for Him. God places people in our lives specifically and purposefully, and we undoubtably need each other …but we must grab the baton individually and seek after Him ourselves.
So the five ill-prepared women went in search of oil to buy, and while they were gone, the groom arrived. The five who stood ready with their lanterns accompanied him to the wedding party, and after they arrived, the door was shut.
Look what happened to the women who were unprepared. They were out of time. The door was already shut. Jesus won’t shut the door until every name has had the chance to hear the truth and accept Him as their Savior. But once that door is closed …
Finally the rest of the women turned up at the party. They knocked on the door.
Ill-prepared Bridesmaids: Master, open up and let us in!
Bridegroom (refusing): I certainly don’t know you.
People are fickle. They will turn their backs, and then whip around when it’s convenient for them. We can expect that. It’s human nature, and though we’d all like to claim “we’d never…” let’s be honest. Our patience is not godly! For the love… But when Jesus returns, there will be no fooling the One who can read every intention of our hearts.
So stay awake; you neither know the day nor hour [when the Son of Man will come].
Father, Praise You for the story! Thank You for the love Jesus exuded through parables He preached. Forgive us for thinking we have more time to get to know You. The time is now, and our days are numbered. Help us to live each one fully in Your purpose. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Get the conversation started by commenting below, and let’s encourage one another as we face life in 2017 armed with grace!
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