February 26, 2017

Keep Watch!

Matthew 25:1-13

Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

—  Matthew 25:13

A while back I was painfully reminded of Jesus’ urging to keep watch. While I was driving to a meeting, someone speeding along from the other direction ran a red light and crashed into my car, totaling it and giving me my first ride ever in an ambulance. Thankfully I was not seriously injured, and I was released from the hospital after only four hours.

This made me think about how our life here on earth can end in a split second. As James puts it, our lives are like “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14). And we don’t know the day or the hour when the Lord will return or when our life on earth will end.

Unlike the five wise virgins in Jesus’ parable, the five foolish virgins did not feel the need to be prepared. They discovered too late that they would need to go and get extra oil for their lamps, and when they came back to the banquet hall, the groom had arrived and the door was shut. No matter how much they pleaded, the answer was “I don’t know you.”

The day will come when each of us will have to leave this life. Someday we too will meet the bridegroom, the Lord Jesus. Then all that will matter is whether we have been prepared by believing in him and by serving him here on earth. And if we are prepared, like the five wise virgins, we too will be able to go in with him to the wedding banquet.

Lord Jesus, help us to be prepared when you call us home or when you return. In your name, Amen.

About the author — Arthur J. Schoonveld

Rev. Art Schoonveld is a retired minister in the Christian Reformed Church. Before retiring in 2001, he served churches in California, Illinois, and Michigan. Since his retirement he has worked part-time for the denomination and has served as an interim pastor. Art and his wife, Anita, have four children and nine grandchildren.

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