by Stuart Gray
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Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour (Matthew 25:13).
Read Matthew 25:1–13
How good are we at being prepared? During the 2019–20 bushfires in Victoria, I spent time at an emergency relief centre as a Victorian Council of Churches Emergency Ministry volunteer. My role was to be available to listen to people who were completely dislocated from their normal lives. Over the two days, I spoke with about 20 people. Most had made some fire preparations; some made very little preparation, even though at night, the sky was like an extended red sunset due to the fires. There was one young woman who came in quite distraught. Upon hearing her story, I told her that of all the people I had spoken to, she was the only one who had followed all the recommended preparations.
Despite all the exhortations to prepare, and with the fires raging around the district, in this sample, only one person in about twenty was fully prepared.
In this parable, Jesus says half the young women were prepared. It is interesting to note that initially, there is nothing to distinguish between the women, even to the extent they all fall asleep. But when the bridegroom comes, there is a very big distinction between the prepared and unprepared.
The wise were able to enter the banquet as they had fulfilled the requirements of their task to shine their light for the bridegroom.
The foolish couldn’t fulfil their requirements and were blocked from the banquet.
In Matthew 7:21, Jesus says, ‘Not everyone who says to me “Lord, Lord” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven.’
I’ve often thought it was not very ‘Christian’ of the girls with the oil not to share it with the others. But the journey Jesus talks about is only something we can prepare for; no one else can do it for us. If someone wants to become a doctor, carpenter or priest, they have to do the study and take the exams if they want to qualify – no one else can do it for them.
We all have to discern the will of the Father for ourselves and be prepared.
How prepared are you?
Father, we ask you to help us to be prepared to meet you at the eternal banquet. Make our light shine in this time of spiritual darkness so when our time comes to cry out, ‘Lord, Lord’, we may enter into your presence. Amen.
Stuart, with his wife Pamela Dalgliesh, lives in Mansfield, Victoria. Stuart has a background in agricultural science, rural journalism and corporate affairs. He loves living on a small farm in the beautiful High Country of Victoria, being involved in the Mansfield community and travelling, having in the last three years done extensive travels in Western Australia, Queensland, the United Kingdom and Ireland.