9 o’clock the other night I’m watching TV and the lights go out. No electricity in the whole neighborhood. Thoughts fly through my mind in rapid succession like bullets from an automatic rifle: “I’ve got a generator. I need to take it outside. I have to get my flashlight. It’s dark. I won’t be able to see out there. Sh..t, I should have recharged the batteries the last time. Do I have any other flashlights? In my car. Phew!” I’m just about to get up out of my chair and all the lights and sounds come charging back to life.
A couple days later I thought about not having the batteries ready for my flashlight when we had the power outage. It reminded me of the Bible story about the ten virgins with the oil lamps. They took their lamps to meet the bridegroom and go to the wedding. But only five took extra oil for their lamps so they’d be prepared. The bridegroom was late so the five without extra oil were running out of light. They thought they could borrow some from the others but that wasn’t going to happen.
We learn from this passage that each of us is responsible to get his or her own oil. No one else is responsible to read the Bible for us and no one else can do our believing for us. The women who were prepared, went on to the party and the others missed out. (Matt 5:1-13). This parable is about being ready when Jesus comes back. Nobody knows when that will be, but there will be a day when Jesus returns and everything changes.
“The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Pet 3:10). “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God” (1 Thess 4: 16).
Jesus said that when judgment day comes, every man will have to account for every idle word he speaks (Matt 12:36) and fire will try every work. Our works are to be built on the foundation of Jesus Christ. “If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss” (1 Cor 3:13-15). “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be?” (2 Pet 3:11).
People want to feel that their lives are meaningful and that they are contributing good things into this world. Once Jesus comes back, we don’t get the chance to do it over again. We only have one life to live here on earth right now, no reincarnation. We need to make every day count.
We don’t want to miss a chance to say something kind, do something significant for someone else, give a smile, help someone, minister healing, cast out a devil spirit, etc. “We are all the children of light” (1 Thess 5:5) and we can “walk as children of light” (Eph 5:8). “Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel” (Matt 5:15). Let your particular light shine.
The end of our world is imminent and according to the Bible, it could be any day. Let’s make a difference here while we can. If we think more often about Jesus’ return, we will live our lives more like the women who carried extra oil, rather than the ones whose light ran out.
Like it says in Romans 13:12, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.”
If we live like today could be our last, it just could be our best.
After the lights came back on the other night, I recharged the batteries for my flashlight. Today I’m recharging my heart for the Lord Jesus Christ.
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