My husband and I lived in four different houses over the twelve years we have been married. The house we are in now my husband referred to once as our “forever home.” So hopefully that means we will stay put for a while! One of the several times we put our house up for sale was around the time the market suffered. So that particular house was up for sale for two years before we finally sold it. We both worked at the same place at the time, and our job was a good forty-five minute drive away. If you have ever put a house on the market with a realtor, then you probably know how it works. You can get a call at any given time when someone wants to see your house. This means every day when we left for work, we never knew if someone might want to see our house that particular day.
So every day for two years when we left for work in the morning, our house had to be in tiptop shape. Every day for two years we didn’t leave any garbage in the house. Every day for two years we made sure the bathrooms and kitchen were spotless. Every day for two years we sprayed a pleasant orange-scented air freshener as we walked out the door. Every day for two years we would hide our dirty laundry (literally!). Every day for two years we tried to make our house look Pinterest perfect.
We never knew the day or the hour that we might get a call from a realtor who wanted to show our house. So we always had to be ready. I was thinking about this recently and the parable that Jesus told in Matthew 25:1-13 (NLT) came to mind:
“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’
“All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’
“But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’
“But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’
“So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.”
The foolish bridesmaids make me think of three types of people: those who have heard the gospel but are not ready to take the next step, those who gave their lives to Jesus at one time but have now turned away from the Lord, and those who appear to be believers but in their hearts they are not sincere. Whatever the case may be, The Bible gives us a clear warning to be ready at all times.
And my heart breaks when I think of all the people who are not living for the Lord. I feel as though so many people are off track. Some people go to church every week, but when they walk out of the building, their life has nothing to do with God at all. In today’s culture we have to be on guard, now more than ever. There are more ways the enemy can trap us. For example, millions of people are constantly glued to video games, social media, devices, television, etc. This is a subtle, yet highly effective, tactic of the enemy to keep people distracted, to keep their focus off of the kingdom of God.
I heard it said recently that we are in a period of grace, but that grace will come to an end one day. We cannot take this lightly. We do not want to be locked out when the time comes. Just as my husband and I always had to be ready for someone who wanted to see our home, we all always have to be ready for Someone – Jesus. Like the wise bridesmaids, we should be prepared. Our hearts need to be in the right place. When we make Jesus the center of our lives, we can’t go wrong!