“Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.” (Matthew 25:13)
There is much in scripture that talks about readiness and alertness. There is much in life that distracts us and makes it hard for us to be alert and ready. This tension between readiness and reality confronts us all and it can get in the way at almost any time.
Jesus’ parable of the 10 Bridesmaids shares a story of 10 women waiting for the groom to arrive for the wedding. Half of them have lamps filled with oil and ready. Half of them have lamps with not much oil and not ready. The groom arrives, not in the middle of the day when it is light, but at night when it is dark. They need their lamps to participate and half of them cannot. They leave to get oil and by the time they return the event has begin and the doors are closed. It is too late!
This is a bit how our lives are. We are in the midst of something and suddenly things take a turn and there is a God moment or a pregnant pause. It is just the right time to acknowledge God’s presence, share a word of comfort or hope, offer a prayer asking for healing, or any one of a multitude of options. If we are prepared and alert – we find a way to see God’s work or presence and participate. If we are not prepared and alert – the moment passes and we miss it. We have all thought back after a moment passed and thought, “If only I’d said…” or “If only I’d done…”
Alertness is a characteristic for followers of Jesus. The parable reminds us it is not something we turn on and off. It is a way of life. So… Are you watching? Are you ready?