If you have ever had a job interview or an appointment that was of importance, you would have taken the extra steps to make it to your destination on time. To be on time or early, is to prepare ahead of time so that you do not miss an important opportunity. So, this means that you will ensure that before the time of your appointment, you would have planned ahead in the event of an un-forseen disaster. For example, en route to your destination there might be a car accident impeding your progress. However, because you were well prepared, you were able to move beyond the accident and make it to your appointment on time.
However, what if you did not prepare before your appointment? What if you took it for granted that you would make it to your meeting on time and decided not to leave your home with a sense of urgency? The chances are, you would likely be tardy to your appointment, which would have a set of negative ramifications. Most know that if you were to show up to a job interview late, you would not be considered for the position. The reason is because your lateness disqualifies you in addition to it being a signifier to the employer that you may repeat the pattern if hired.
Spiritually speaking, there is an element of “waiting too late” to make a decision concerning your eternity. In the scripture of Matthew 25: 1-13, Jesus is teaching by using a parable. In this passage, He illustrates the “Parable of the Ten Virgins.” There is much that both Christians and non-Christians can learn from this parable. Starting with the first few verses, Jesus says the following:
(ESV) “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept.”
So, here you have 10 virgins in which 5 were wise, and 5 were unwise. Notice that verse 5 says, “As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept.” This is of importance because it suggests that we are all given time by God to prepare for eternity. So, verse 5 says that the bridegroom was delayed, which meant that there was time for preparation. However, in the earlier verses, 5 virgins were unprepared and did not fill their lamps with oil.
(ESV) “But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 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.'”
In verse 6, we see that the bridegroom finally appears at the appointed time. The wise virgins were the individuals who were prepared for the coming of the bridegroom. However, the foolish virgins were unprepared, and they attempted to get oil from the other 5 virgins. However, they were unsuccessful in their request, and they are told to get oil elsewhere.
(ESV) “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. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”
The unwise virgins made a final attempt to purchase oil, but as they were purchasing the oil, the bridegroom arrived, and it was too late to gain entry to the wedding feast. As the end of verse 11 says, the virgins cried, “Lord, Lord, open to us.” but verse 12 says, “But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’”
The lesson that we can all take from this parable is that we must be prepared for our eternity. Whether you are in Christ or not, there is an urgency that we all must have concerning where we end up after our physical life is done. The passage of the 10 virgins is critical because it shows what can happen when you are prepared and unprepared.
For the virgins who were prepared, they were able to gain access to the wedding feast. However, for those who were not prepared, they were denied access and they were told the exact words that God gives in Matthew 7: 21-23. This scripture is similar to Matthew 25, because the concept is that there will be those who will wait until it is too late to gain entry into Heaven, and will find that their tardiness will be met with denial.
Basically, in both Matthew 25 and Matthew 7, the reality for those who are unprepared is that they will not be received into the Kingdom of God. Only those who have chosen Jesus Christ as their Lord & Savior on Earth will be granted everlasting life and will abide in God’s presence forever. Undoubtedly, there will be those who leave this Earth, and will have left without choosing Jesus Christ.
They will be the same individuals that will stand before God’s seat of judgment, making a plea with Him to avoid the fiery depths of Hell. However, as verse 23 says in Matthew 7, God will say, “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.” The point is that God does not recognize anyone who has not willfully given their lives over to Christ. He only recognizes those who have accepted the gift of life which is Jesus Christ.
You and I, we have time because we are yet breathing. However, there will come a day when our lives will end. When your life is over, do you want to stand before God knowing that you have given your life to Jesus and that your eternity is secure? Or will you stand before Him in judgment, hearing the words “I never knew you, depart from me.”? The great thing about God is that He gives everyone an opportunity. Just like the 5 foolish virgins had the time to prepare, you have time to secure your eternity in Heaven with God.
This scripture and principle can also be applied to the coming of Jesus Christ. The truth is, that the return of Jesus Christ is imminent. No one knows exactly when He will return, but we can all be assured that He will. Various signs are swirling around us daily, which points to the approaching return of Jesus Christ. So, just like the 5 wise virgins we must be ready for Christ’s return.
It would be unfortunate to live a life toiling away to reach status, self-satisfaction, and pleasure only to lose your soul at the end of it. All of us have something in common – we are each given 24 hours a day to live. The difference between all of our lives is that none of us knows when our time will end. Your time may come today, tomorrow, next week, or next year. However, regardless of when your time on Earth is over, you have a choice.
You can choose Jesus Christ in the pardon of your sins and be eternally secured. Or you can continue a path without God which is one that is destined for Hell and eternal separation from God. The choice is yours and yours alone. Even for those of us who are in Christ, we must ensure that we are living wisely, by discerning our own relationship with God. We must please God with everything we have so that we will be greeted with affirming words of how we lived from our Heavenly Father. All of us, must choose. Choose Jesus Christ before you lose the gift of time which is your God given opportunity.