Here is a macabre question for you today. If you were to die in the next hour, what business would you leave undone? What words would you wish you had said? What regrets would you have as you draw that last breath? What is left to finish in the next sixty minutes?
The human spirit is a powerful thing. I have watched dying people hang on for days and weeks in order to finish something. I’ll never forget sitting at a bedside with a church member for weeks as she waited for her estranged daughter to come. Every day she asked for her, and every day the daughter didn’t show up. Finally the other daughter drove to another state to get her sister, and when she walked in, she and her mother finally reconciled. They held each other and cried, forgave all past grievances, and expressed their love. The mother died peacefully in minutes.
Sorry for the “Debby Downer” tone of this devotional! But the question is legit. What unfinished business is lying around in your soul?
Today’s passage is a reminder that we never know the day or the hour of our last breath. We never know the moment when this world and all of its horror will suddenly be replaced by the Kingdom of God. (Come, Lord Jesus, COME!) The point is to be ready.
Matthew 25 (Common English Bible)
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten young bridesmaids who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and the other five were foolish. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but didn’t bring oil for them. 4 But the wise ones took their lamps and also brought containers of oil.
5 “When the groom was late in coming, they all became drowsy and went to sleep. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Look, the groom! Come out to meet him.’
7 “Then all those bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. 8 But the foolish bridesmaids said to the wise ones, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps have gone out.’
Jesus is not being coy in this parable. He is clearly delineating the wise people from the foolish ones. The foolish people think they have time to make amends, pursue righteousness, reconcile bitter divisions, and walk in obedience. They are wrong.
The wise ones live each day as if it were the last one on earth. They are ready to meet their maker.
9 “But the wise bridesmaids replied, ‘No, because if we share with you, there won’t be enough for our lamps and yours. We have a better idea. You go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ 10 But while they were gone to buy oil, the groom came. Those who were ready went with him into the wedding. Then the door was shut.
11 “Later the other bridesmaids came and said, ‘Lord, lord, open the door for us.’
12 “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
It was too late for the foolish bridesmaids, but it’s not too late for you. Today is a good day to reflect on your readiness. Do you need to repent? Should you ask God for forgiveness? Have you hurt someone and need to apologize? Are there unreconciled relationships that require your attention?
Don’t wait. Tomorrow may be too late.
13 “Therefore, keep alert, because you don’t know the day or the hour.