Missed Opportunity - Matthew 25:1–13
How frustratingly disappointing it is to realise that something has happened, which you would have liked to be part of, but missed because you were unprepared for it. I like motorcycles, and each year I check out the dates for when the bikes come to Winton raceway. But then the busyness of life trots along, and before I know it I miss the opportunity to down to Winton and see the race. It’s annoying, not life changing, just a little frustrating that no matter how much I would like to go, I simply seem to never be in a place that enables this to happen.
We live in a really busy, face paced, world. Parents are busy racing around from one event to another as the taxi service for their kids. Retirees have so much happening that they seem busier than they were before they retired. Even our kids are struggling to juggle all the extra stuff they do at school and in the community. In the midst of this we struggle trying to find time to connect as families, as couples, as church. We’re flat out finding a spare 15 minutes each day just to read our Bibles and spend some time in prayer.
It’s easy to become complacent in our relationship with Jesus. The parable of the wise and foolish virgins highlights how easy it is to not be in a place of readiness. As was custom for the day, the young women wait in preparation for the bridegroom to arrive. But he is delayed, and they become weary. Then word comes of his pending arrival and they begin to ready themselves. But half were prepared for the delay and the other half weren’t. The latter group must go and find what they need, and in the process miss the bridegrooms arrival. But when they return it is too late, the door is shut and the wedding feast has begun. They have missed their opportunity because they were unprepared.
I think we use the busyness of life as an excuse to pardon us for our spiritual complacency. I often recall Luther who would say the busier my day the longer I need to spend in prayer. It is really about perspective. There is nothing more important in our life that growing in our personal relationship with Jesus. That occurs through daily prayer and bible reading, regular worship, nurturing a spiritual friendship with another like-minded Christian, serving freely and giving generously. When we put a priority on these things, not only will we be ready to meet Jesus when he comes, our life becomes less cluttered and we cease being slaves to the array of other priorities that seem to demand more than give.
In a world that seems so busy, surely we have the opportunity to demonstrate the peace and persistent calm a live out life of discipleship produces to our family, friends, neighbours, and others. But we can only do that when we first commit ourselves to being prepared, to having the oil in our lamps that will see us through to the time when the bridegroom invites us into His wedding feast. There is nothing more powerful we can do in our lives, or give to the world, than a life that has Jesus at the centre. And the only way we can do that is to make a conscience choice to a path of discipleship.