The Tragedy of an Unprepared Life

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Synopsis of The Tragedy of an Unprepared Life

Good and joyful morning this morning to all Christian brothers and sisters, on this the day the Lord has made. Pull up a chair, pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, or milk, or what ever is your favorite. We are about to slice a piece of the bread of life, the Word of God. And today’s slice comes from:

Matthew 25 : 1- 13     Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 2  And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3  They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 4  But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5  While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. 6  And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. 7  Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. 8  And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. 9  But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. 10  And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. 11  Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 12  But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. 13  Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.

  There’s a true story that comes from the sinking of the Titanic. A frightened woman found her place in a lifeboat that was about to be lowered into the raging North Atlantic. She suddenly thought of something she needed, so she asked permission to return to her stateroom before they cast off. She was granted three minutes or they would leave without her. She raced through the gambling room with all the money that had rolled to one side, ankle deep. She came to her stateroom and quickly pushed a side her diamond rings and expensive bracelets and necklaces as she reached to the shelf above her bed and grabbed three small oranges.  Now that seems incredible because thirty minutes earlier she would not have chosen a crate of oranges over the smallest diamond.  Instantaneously, priceless things had become worthless. Worthless things had become priceless. And in that moment she preferred three small oranges to a crate of diamonds. There are events in life, which have the power to transform the way we look at the world. Jesus’ parable about the ten virgins offers one of these types of events, for the parable is about the Second Coming of Christ.  . In this world where Christ may return at any moment, the parable warns, we must be ready.

 Jesus’ parable about a wedding, is told not from the vantage point of the bride and groom, but of the ten young maidens who had been invited to the happy occasion.  All of the young women had oil in their lamps, but five had an additional supply. What is this parable suggesting to us? I would like to make a few suggestions.

First, it is saying some things in life that cannot be borrowed. You and I cannot live on someone else’s oil. We can help one another in so many ways, but at some point we are on our own. This is especially true when it comes to faith. The religious pilgrimage is a narrow one and can only be walked two at a time, you and God. Your parents or your spouse cannot walk it for you or with you. 

Others can help us toward it. They can encourage us. They can pray for us. 

Secondly, I think that the parable suggests that there are some things that cannot be put off until the last moment. Earthquake insurance is not something you can put off until the last moment. In the 20 seconds it takes to do tremendous damage, we have not the time to shop around for the best rates.  Yet, it is amazing to me how  many couples have I seen over the years who never bothered to darken the doorstep of a church. Then the marital problems come and they are panicked, and they rush to the church because they see religion as the last fling before the divorce. My friends, you cannot make withdrawals until and unless you have first made some deposits. 

Third, the parable suggests to us that, if we are not prepared, we can miss our great opportunities. The issue here is one of readiness when Christ returns. When God holds his grand celebration, will we be ready?  When the foolish maidens arrived at the party, we are told: “The door was shut.” When I read these words I cannot help but think of the story of Noah and how he gathered his family into the ark. When the great flood came there were many who pounded on the door and begged to be let in, but the scripture says: “The door was shut.”I had someone in a congregation undergo surgery. When I visited her she said to me: “Pastor, if everything turns out all right, that’s ok. If everything does not turn out alright, well, that’s ok too.”   She was speaking in the language of the five wise maidens. She was prepared to live; she was prepared to die.

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