My eyes are cast on new things, perhaps after being thrust into a season with so much uncertainty and change… with little notice, time for preparation. I’ve decided to take a short interlude in my adventuring through my Great Uncle’s Scripture notes, and share what has been also rolling through my heart and mind.
Matthew 25:1-13 –
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. 3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. 5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. 6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ 7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 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.’ 10 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. 11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ 12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ 13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Right now churches, ministries, schools, and businesses were over all unprepared for what the Covid19 pandemic would bring to our doorsteps. With many staying home in order to practice social distancing & flatten the curve, everything we had depended on for our “normal” day to day lives went out the window. In quick order we had to take our work into the digital world, having to make decisions on which software and platforms to use with neck-breaking speed, then learn to use it and manage to keep business as usual. In addition, we also took over the responsibility of overseeing our children complete the school year, and our churches asked us to be a part of their digital presence. It’s been a lot.
Several times now, I have shared in conversation that the world we are in right now feels like a mess. We were thrust into it, like a child being thrown into a pool with the hopes he’ll figure out how to swim. However, in the long run, what we work through today will better prepare us for what is to come. Whether that is another pandemic, war, or even the persecution of the church as the day of our Lord’s return draws nearer. We are getting creative, we are learning and adapting quickly, and we are prioritizing our lives in a way we never have before. My calendar looks so empty because all of those things that “I had to do” … apparently… didn’t have to be done. They were non essential.
They didn’t become non essential, they always were. It was my perception of those things that changed.
In Matthew 25, the Parable of the 10 Virgins, we can see what happens when you are prepared and unprepared. We don’t know the day or the hour the Lord will return, so Matthew 25 reminds us that we must be prepared for it to happen at any moment.
We also do not know the day or the hour another crisis will land on our doorsteps, but we are learning now that we do need to be prepared for it non the less. Churches or ministry leaders that have been opposition to live streaming services, or using social media as a connection for the church have been thrown into the deep end and seeking grace for the learning curve.
Just today, I helped to coordinate a very last minute online conference. There was something that was overlooked and now we know to be mindful of it next time. Even those of us who had a idea of what we were doing in some areas were not fully prepared to extend that knowledge into other areas of our work and ministry. But, here we are.
My main focus today, and what I really want to share is this… right now, we are all being thrust into our great commission calling. It’s no longer up to the collective building called the “church” to bear the weight of sharing Jesus, reaching the lost, serving others, coordinating events, etc. It’s time for the people to be the church. We should, if we as leaders have done our job right, have prepared those under our leadership to be able to share the gospel effectively, to read & study the Word for themselves, how to pray, and put within them a spirit of service to the community they live in. We should have prepared them to be the hands and feet of Christ, and how to continue to grow in the Word even when we are unable to meet.
We have a responsibility to be those who prepare.