The penultimate Advent blog. It is about being in it for the long haul.
Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For 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, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterwards the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Have you got oil?
Are you prepared for the long haul? Or are you too keen to get it over with, always looking for an excuse that says that we are the last generation, that Jesus will come back in our lifetime.
There are some trying to hurry Christ back, they have read that the full number of Jews will be back in their homeland. They are not content to wait. They are not prepared. This is an example of what I call Sixth Virginism, the desire to want Christ to come early. Can they not trust that Christ will return when the time is right? It is acting like the sixth to tenth virgins in the parable. Another example of Sixth Virginism is to jump on every story of the return, seeing every thing as a sign of the end, even wars which Jesus explicitly said were not signs. (See my previous blog, there should be a link below.) Another is a Gospel that neglects the poor, the widow orphan and foreigner, groups we are told are dear to God’s heart.
Have you got oil? Are you in it for the long haul?
The message isn’t to give up doing anything because Christ is due, but to stand firm in our faith so that me might be seen doing the good work of the Gospel, which are out response in love to God and to others (our neighbour) when Jesus Christ returns.
Let us, like generations before us, pray for the boldness to tell others about Jesus Christ, Emmanuel, God come to live amongst us. Let us ask God to show us his love for other people and to respond where God shows us to respond. And let us wait for Jesus Christ to return. Let us preach the Gospel as if Christ is coming back today, and treat others as if he will be coming back after this generation is gone.
For Jesus will return, his promise is sure. He will come back at the time his Father has set, he will not come early and not come late. The time of his coming cannot be hurried: Let us do the works we are called to do.
Are you in it for the long haul?