On Knowing the Times


In the last month, the following passage has come up a dozen times and I believe it has worth for us right now:

Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
—Matthew 25:1-13

Matthew 25 has been the “gut check” chapter for me most of my life. Jesus tells us to expect the final outcomes of life to not always jive with our understanding or our lived out habits. If we are not careful, we will meet with unexpected surprises.

Part of me wants to always be like the wise virgins, but I know that more often than not I tend to be more foolish than I wish to admit. So many Americans perpetually live outside the realms of “Give us this day Thy daily bread” and have our schedules maxed out with things to do and places to be. It is amazing how God can step in and scramble those schedules when we least expect it.

No one knows when ill health will strike. We do not anticipate our spouse dying other than to have a life insurance policy just in case. Our kids will always be there.The neighbor who does not know the Lord will probably be okay because one day we will get around to sharing the Gospel with them.

On the other hand, we fret over how to juggle the kids’ soccer schedules, consult our PDAs religiously, and have to make our appearances at all the right events lest we be forgotten by “the important people.”

My priorities are wrong and I think most others have the same problem. The things that pass are given too much focus and the things that have eternal value are given short shrift.

Jesus said for us to let the day’s own trouble be sufficient for the day. He also said to store up treasures in heaven that are imperishable.

No one knows his or her time. How can we live then like there is no tomorrow in a country that believes that tomorrow is all that matters?

2 thoughts on “On Knowing the Times

  1. “In God We Trust” is not only printed but almost branded onto currency. Somehow as nations in North America we are far from this, but when I ponder that so is the church and often, so am I.
    Thank you for a good reminder that Jesus can be trusted and I need to live in that trust.

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