Faithful and Ready

Read 
Matthew 25:1-13
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.” Verse 1 (NIV) 

Reflect 
This parable is a troubling one because it dismisses a number of character traits that Jesus would otherwise champion. For instance, why do the prepared 5 not share their oil with the 5 who were unprepared. Or why are the 5 unprepared called foolish and unable to enter. The parable has a very specific message. Let’s take a look. 

Another wedding, another feast. In this parable, ten girls wait eagerly to meet the bridegroom. When he arrives, the banquet will begin. The girls wait, and wait, and wait . . . and then fall asleep – all ten of them. 

When the call finally comes, “Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!” the girls awaken from their sleep, rub their eyes, and trim the wicks on their lamps. They want to help light the way for the bridegroom to enter the wedding festivities. They want to be part of the procession, part of the celebration, part of the big entrance. 

But five of them have to drop out of the gathering crowd. They are not well prepared; they have run out of oil, so they have to go and try to buy more. 

This parable is about being prepared and faithful and that is why it is seemingly so harsh.  Are you prepared and ready to meet Jesus, the bridegroom who is coming? You can be assured of saying yes to this question if you believe and trust in Jesus himself. 

And are you able to wait and persevere in faith for the Lord to come? We cannot rely on a friend’s faith, or the faith of our parents. We can only truly rely on the strength of faith that Jesus provides that he gives that through his Spirit – in abundance, as much as we need! 

Pray 
Lord Jesus, I want to be a light for you, prepared and faithful in all I do. Help me through daily conversations with you to stay fuel filled and trimmed and bright, until you come again. Amen. 

Compassionate Ministry

Read
Luke 9:1-2  When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases,and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 

Reflect 

When Jesus sent out his disciples, he empowered them to proclaim the Kingdom of God, but it was also accompanied with authority to drive out demons and heal people from disease. The ministry of Jesus was to minister to the complete person. A holistic approach was the foundation of how to minister to people so, it is no surprise that he sends out the disciples to do the same. 

In the same chapter Dr. Luke recounts the miracle of feeding 5,000+ people with five loaves and two fish. The disciples had not yet learned that at the heart of holistic ministry is compassion. They preferred to send the people away. The circumstances were too difficult. Jesus on the other hand is moved with compassion and performs another miracle. 

It is important to realize that the people who heard the gospel and who were healed, and fed were not all saved and sanctified saints; they were not followers of Jesus, not fully committed disciples who were ready to embrace Jesus. Yet when Jesus saw their hurts and needs, he responded with love. Jesus knew that many of them would abandon and even turn against him later. Even so, Jesus was moved with compassion, seeing their need. In the same way, he has compassion today when he sees the hurts and needs of anyone created in the image of God. 

We have daily opportunities to come alongside the people around us. It could mean dropping by the hospital or the nursing home for a visit. Perhaps it involves cooking a meal for someone. Maybe it includes simply listening to another person’s story. When we realize that we too have been empowered by Jesus to do ministry, remember that at the heart of holistic ministry is compassion. 

Pray 

God, help us to see the needs of others not as interruptions, but as opportunities to reflect the love and compassion of Christ for people who need it. In his Jesus, Amen.