Never Put Off ‘Til Tomorrow

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. Now five of them were wise, and the other five were foolish. The foolish ones took their lamps but didn’t bring oil for them. But the wise ones took their lamps and also brought containers of oil.

“When the groom was late in coming, they all became drowsy and went to sleep. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Look, the groom! Come out to meet him.’

“Then all those bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. 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.

“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.

The Hour is Upon Us by Michelle Robertson

RSVP

Have you ever thrown a party and nobody came? Imagine the frustration of that. You send the invitations, bake the cake, buy the decorations, and put together the little party favors for every guest. The day of the party you clean the house, set the table, sweep the front steps, change your clothes, and….nada. Nobody comes. Nobody calls. Nobody even has the manners to at least try to come up with a reason not to attend.

This is the story Jesus told when asked about the Kingdom of God. His listeners were the chief priests and the leaders of the temple. They had questioned Jesus’ authority to speak as the Son of God. They had allowed money lenders to defile the steps of the temple on the holy days. They had been listening to Jesus for three years, but they weren’t picking up what he was laying down.

Now they were out to get him.

Matthew 22 (The Message)

22 1-3 Jesus responded by telling still more stories. “God’s kingdom,” he said, “is like a king who threw a wedding banquet for his son. He sent out servants to call in all the invited guests. And they wouldn’t come!

“He sent out another round of servants, instructing them to tell the guests, ‘Look, everything is on the table, the prime rib is ready for carving. Come to the feast!’

5-7 “They only shrugged their shoulders and went off, one to weed his garden, another to work in his shop. The rest, with nothing better to do, beat up on the messengers and then killed them. The king was outraged and sent his soldiers to destroy those thugs and level their city.

Jesus throws down the authority gauntlet. He warns the Jewish leadership that their continued refusal to receive the Son of God was not going to end well. They may succeed in ensnaring Jesus for a time, but the ultimate victory was going to be his at the resurrection. God would destroy not only their hierarchy but their precious temple and the city it stood in.

He warns them that God wasn’t playing.

8-10 “Then he told his servants, ‘We have a wedding banquet all prepared but no guests. The ones I invited weren’t up to it. Go out into the busiest intersections in town and invite anyone you find to the banquet.’ The servants went out on the streets and rounded up everyone they laid eyes on, good and bad, regardless. And so the banquet was on—every place filled.

And so the doors of the kingdom were flung wide open to the gentiles, the prostitutes, the tax collectors, the poor, the blind, the marginal….suddenly the invitation was sent out to everyone. The banquet was on and everybody had a seat. The Bread of Life welcomed everyone to come and feast at HIS table.

You are invited as well. Maybe this is your moment to accept Christ into your heart. Jesus invites you to come inside and put your feet under his table. The food has been laid out on beautiful platters and the glasses are filled with Living Water. The meal has been bought for you with the precious blood of the lamb. In Christ, you will never hunger or thirst again. You can come and eat and stay as long as you like…even for the rest of your life. Will you come and partake?

RSVP.

Come and You Will Never Thirst Again by Kathy Schumacher