Are You Ready?

     “Are you ready?” Isn’t this what we ask each other when we have some place to go and a particular time to get there? I really don’t want to get into the “husband versus wife” discussion on this subject but I feel safe in saying that one of those two is generally ready before the other one.

     The point is, when we know we have to go somewhere we also know we have to get ready to go. We have to buy the tickets or make sure the car is properly serviced. If an overnight is involved we make the hotel arrangements. We try to have enough money on hand to do what needs doing. There is usually a sense of anticipation and maybe a little excitement as the time to go draws near. Then we make sure that the house is in good enough shape to leave and that somebody will pick up the mail. Then, we go.

     We can think of the Christian life like this. One of these days we will make our final journey. As James told us, life is “…even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (4:14). Now, we know that most folks don’t spend much time thinking about this final trip until perhaps they come face to face with it. There seems to be a large contingent of folks who think that they don’t have to do anything in particular to get ready for this common eventuality. But when we listen to the Lord we find that He taught quite a bit on the subject of being ready.

     He stressed the principle of readiness in Matthew 24:42: “Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming.” In Matthew 25:1-12 we have His parable of the foolish and wise virgins. These ten young women were to be attendants at a wedding feast. In those days a wedding could be quite the event. One difference between then and now is that the groom’s arrival time was not always known. Five of the virgins are called “wise” because they had their lamps ready. The foolish young women “slumbered and slept” away the time of the bridegroom’s delay. As we know, when his arrival was imminent the foolish virgins were not ready and thus they missed the wedding altogether.

     They are known forever as foolish because they did not exercise the forethought and diligence required to prepare for the wedding. They were not ready. Jesus repeats Himself in 25:13: “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”

     The lesson is so plain it hardly needs stating: “Are you ready for that day to come?”