Read: Matthew 25:10-13 |
Procrastination is the natural enemy of “Opportunity”.
When an opportunity is within reach, avoid nibbling on the bait of procrastination. Otherwise, if not careful, you may swallow the hook of unpreparedness and end up trapped in the net of failure. [William A Ward – Paraphrased]
This week we conclude our study of the Parable of the Ten Virgins by looking at the price of procrastination. On the surface, all ten virgins prepared for the arrival of the bridegroom. However, only the five wise virgins were fully prepared to tackle the challenges of a long wait. They were the only ones to bring extra oil. They were ready.
The five foolish virgins paid a dear price. They did not bring extra oil. As a result, the door was shut and they missed the wedding banquet. Only the ready virgins were allowed in, the unready were shut out.
The “Unready” may not even completely recognize how “not” ready they are. As we noted, the five foolish virgins in the parable represent those who are not ready. Today, the unready are those who are procrastinating—putting off accepting Christ into their lives.
The price of procrastination for the unready is illustrated in the best-selling book series entitled “Left Behind” by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B Jenkins. The series talks about the end times. It animates Bible verses such as Matthew 24:39 where we find two people working in the field when Christ returns. The one who is “ready” and who has accepted Christ will be taken, the “unready” will be left behind.
The “ready” have accepted Christ. Even if we procrastinated initially, as long as we were wise enough to spit out the bait of procrastination and become hooked on Jesus – then we are made ready for Heaven. By accepting Christ, we are anointed with the “oil” of the Holy Spirit and are fully prepared for the midnight arrival of Jesus.
We who are ready are also challenged to be fishers of men in Matthew 4:19 and to let our lights shine before men in Matthew 5:16. Additionally, in Titus 2:11-14 we find two clear instructions to live by: 1) Say “No” to ungodliness and world passions, 2) Live self-controlled, upright and godly lives. As bridesmaids, we are to follow these instructions while we await the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior.
Shut in and Shut out
In the book of Genesis, we find two examples of God shutting in and out. In the Garden of Eden after the fall of man, God shut them out of the Garden and access to the Tree of Life. [Genesis 3:22-24] Later in Genesis 7:16, we find the culmination of Noah’s 120 years of labor and ministry to build the ark. After everyone was inside, the Lord shut them in.
Now in the New Testament, Jesus ends this parable with, “They that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.” This tells us that when we die or when He returns, He will once again shut in and shut out.
Those that have bypassed the opportunity to accept Christ are shut out on the wrong side of the door. Their hope and happiness will be no more, for their fate is eternal damnation in Hell.
The ready are ushered into his immediate presence, where we can immerse ourselves in the most intimate fellowship and communion with him in a state of eternal joy, praise and peace.
Personally, I am ready! However, I am still concerned for friends and family that have decided to shut themselves out of Heaven by failing to resist the bait of procrastination.
If that is your concern as well, continually cast your bread on the waters to share the Good News with your friends and family, before it is too late. [Romans 10:9,10] The opportunity is to accept Him now. Why? Because, procrastination and opportunity cannot co-exist without risking being shut out!
1. Discover –
A. Are you “ready” for Christ’s return? If He were to return while you were doing what you normally do during a given week, would there be any moment that you would be embarrassed? Any moment you would be proud? Does this thought make you want to change what you do?
B. Do you have any family and friends that are “unready”? What are you doing so that they do not shut themselves out of Heaven?
2. Develop –
A. Are you in living your life according to Titus 2:11-14: 1) Say “No” to ungodliness and world passions, 2) Live self-controlled, upright and godly lives?
B. How often do you share your faith? Do you fear looking like a “Holy Roller” and keep quiet when opportunity knocks? Or, do you speak boldly for Christ?
3. Demonstrate –
A. Does your life demonstrate a life that fulfills Titus 2:11-14? Can others tell that you are “ready” for Christ’s return by watching you during the day?
B. Reflecting on those that you know are unsaved, how do you feel? Do you feel any angst for their procrastination? Or, do you feel nothing because it is their call? What does Christ feel?