“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ Therefore keep watch because you do not know the day or the hour (when the Lord will return).” Matthew 25:1-13
One of my worst vices is procrastination. There are so many things that I’ve said about “someday I’ll get to that.” Cleaning closets. Organizing piles. Reading stacks of books.
Even now during the pandemic, I find myself thinking, “Well, I may have several more days (hopefully not weeks or months) to do those things, so I’ll watch another episode of The Crown.”
Many of my less put-it-off-till-tomorrow friends have said they have cleaned all the closets and drawers in their house, read many books, sewed masks for the local nursing home, etc. and don’t know what they will do the rest of their time in these days of social distancing.
If it were safe and acceptable, I could surely find some things in my house for them to organize!
It is interesting and somewhat ironic to me that we are all being told over and over and over again to wash our hands, cover our mouths, stay six feet apart from one another. All good advice. I’m sure you know of people who are wearing masks and gloves in public. And lots of people who are a bit on the panicky side.
I’m not criticizing any of these things or saying we shouldn’t heed the CDC guidelines. What I find ironic is that so many millions of people are going to such extremes to protect and preserve their physical wellness, but what about their spiritual wellness?
Let’s face it folks. None of us is getting out of this life alive, unless the Lord returns first. We certainly don’t want to die before our time, but if we are true believers in Jesus, we know that that isn’t even a possibility. God has numbered our days from before we were even born. Jesus says, “Who of you can add even one day to your life by worrying?”
This pandemic has taken away all of our idols in our lives that we have put before the Lord. Kathie Lee Gifford had a great post on Twitter that said what I have been feeling in my heart.
“In three short months, just like He did with the plagues of Egypt, God has taken away everything we worship. You want to worship athletes, I will shut down stadiums and arenas. You want to worship musicians, I will shut down every venue. You want to worship actors, I will shut down theaters. You want to worship money, I will shut down the economy and collapse the stock market. You want to worship your own bodies, I will close down all the gyms. You want to worship your own intellect and pat yourself on the back with a graduation, I’ll close down your schools. You want to place your trust in your friends and not in Me, I’ll make sure you can’t even meet with them physically. You don’t want to seek my face and worship Me, I will make it where you can’t go to church.”
I don’t know when this will all end. I pray that the Lord will spare businesses and lives and families. But most of all, I pray that we all heed 2 Chronicles “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
This pandemic will end someday. Someday when it’s over will we:
Be kinder and more patient when we are stuck in traffic or in line at the grocery store?
Smile more often when we pass on the street?
Hug our friends and family tighter just because we can?
Appreciate our neighbors and co-workers more?
Recognize the small blessings of life like the cardinals singing or the daffodils blooming?
Understand that all of our “stuff” is just that and can’t protect us from a pandemic?
Realize how much we need one another?
Admit that we have very little control over anything in our lives?
Recognize how good and patient and loving our God is?
I don’t know but I hope all of these things will happen.
Some people wonder if these times are the beginning of the last days.
I don’t know that either.
What I do know is that someday Jesus is coming back. He has promised that He will return as the bridegroom for His bride—the Church. Not the small “c” church where many are like the foolish virgins and go to sit for an hour each Sunday and then go back into their lives and forget Him until the next service.
When the Bridegroom returns, will you be like the wise virgins who have prepared your hearts and souls to enter into the wedding feast? Or will you be caught off guard and have the Lord say to you, “I never knew you.”
This, my friends, is more deadly and frightening than any pandemic can ever be in our lives.
Lord Jesus, thank you for your great love for us that you took all of our sins and bore them on the cross. Forgive us again Lord for making so many false idols of the things of this world. We pray for wisdom for all of our health care workers. Give them strength and protect them so they can be your hands and feet in caring for those who are ill. Help us to prepare our hearts and souls to spend eternity with you. Help us to feel an urgency to share You and the Good News with those who don’t know you. Help us remember Your advice to number our days and realize how short our time here in our earthly bodies is compared to the joy of eternity with you. We love you Jesus. In your name we pray. Amen