Jesus said, "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 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, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, `Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise replied, `No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.' And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, `Lord, lord, open to us.' But he replied, `Truly I tell you, I do not know you.' Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour." Matthew 25:1-13
I spent a good deal of time preparing. Because I am traveling a good deal, I have to make sure that I have everything I need with me. Then there are the times that no matter how well I am prepared, I either forgot something or, it was not something I thought to bring. With the changes in weather and circumstances I often feel unprepared. I also have to trust that God will help me through, even when the storms bear down and I am without the tools I need.
Jesus tells a story of the bridesmaids - some prepared and some unprepared. He likens the kingdom of heaven to this coming wedding banquet - a royal and wonderful celebration. He invites us, almost challenges us to be prepared. We know that Jesus was preparing himself an his disciples for his final days. We must always be as ready as possible to encounter the kingdom of Heaven, God breaking into our time and space. We are invited to take notice and keep awake, for Gos is always doing a new thing, change is always occurring, and we are to be those who are prepared to meet God in new and renewing ways.
Today I ask God to help me do everything to be prepared while trusting that God's reign is breaking out all around. May we never be discouraged nor negligent in our faith and service, so that we might be ready at all times to see the face of God.
O God, whose blessed Son came into the world that he might destroy the works of the devil and make us children of God and heirs of eternal life: Grant that, having this hope, we may purify ourselves as he is pure; that, when he comes again with power and great glory, we may be made like him in his eternal and glorious kingdom; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.