I’ve never been much of a procrastinator. Of course, every so often, I would push finishing a homework assignment, studying for a test, or scheduling an appointment off until a little later than I was comfortable with, but rarely would I wait until the absolute last moment to do something.
Granted, I’m also that girl who feels late when she arrives less than ten minutes early to an appointment or commitment. What can I say… I like to feel prepared!
Sometimes, I wonder if I am this way only because the tasks and responsibilities that I dislike putting off, as well as the commitments I’m always early for, are immediate and visible. Because sometimes, I catch myself feeling that heaven is so far away that I can wait until a few more years to figure a certain area of my life out or begin doing such and such activity as a part of my faith walk.
The truth is, we have no idea when the Lord will return.
In today’s reading, we see three separate, yet similar, parables about people who were surprised by the return of their master… and we’re not talking about a “surprise party” kind of surprise, but more like a “wow, I wasn’t prepared at all for this yet” kind of surprise.
In the first parable in Matthew 25, foolish virgins did not prepare enough for the bridegroom’s coming to have enough oil in their lamps. In the second, several servants handled the blessings their master entrusted to them much differently, and some even squandered what he had given them. The third parable looks ahead to the day all will stand before God to be judged, when the Lord will separate the sheep from the goats.
Verse 34 is encouraging to me as I prepare my heart for the day my Lord returns:
34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
We can certainly learn and take something from each of these three parables; undoubtedly, specific lessons within each one will speak to different parts of our hearts. Yet the common theme throughout each of these parables is this: I’m not ready yet. In each parable, the people were caught totally off guard by the return on the one they were waiting for. They thought they had more time to get their act together, per se.
However, they didn’t have the time they thought they did. Verse 13 tells us,
13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Friends, today is a wonderful chance to begin preparing for the Lord’s return again. It is so easy to become distracted by the world and the schedule of life and forget that we are waiting on the return of our King. Let us never grow weary in waiting and forget to prepare.
I challenge you to take some time today to consider what you have been pushing off in preparing for the return of Jesus. Is it a conversation with a non-believing friend you’ve been wanting to have? Is it asking for forgiveness from someone you deeply hurt? Is it changing your habits or actions in a certain area of your life? Today is the perfect chance to realize, yet again, that THE day could come at any point. When He comes, let Him find us ready.