In the first part of Matthew chapter 24, Jesus tells His disciples what to expect before His return. He lets them know there will be many wars, false Christ, false prophets and teachers. The people will be led astray, and nations will rise up against nations. There will be famines and earthquakes also, but this is just the beginning. A great falling away will occur, lawlessness will increase, and the love of many will grow cold.
In the latter part of Matthew 24, Jesus teaches His disciples the traits of a good servant: A faithful servant will do what is right whether the master is present or absent. That servant will always obey his or her master's instructions and will be ready when the master returns. An unfaithful servant will fail to do the right thing while the master is away, believing that there will be time to get ready before his arrival. Jesus explained that the problem with that idea is that no one knows the day or the hour the master will return. Therefore, it is wise to be ready at all times. Sisters and brothers, if you stay ready, you won't have to get ready! When the Master returns, it will be too late!
In Matthew 25, Jesus continues to admonish His disciples to be prepared. He tells the story of ten virgins who were awaiting the bridegroom’s arrival. Five were fully prepared just in case the bridegroom delayed in coming, but the remaining five were prepared only partially. The five unwise virgins didn't have enough oil left and had to go to purchase more. While they were away, the bridegroom returned, and the fully prepared ones were allowed to enter the wedding feast. The unwise and unprepared virgins were denied entrance.
Scripture tells us that Jesus will return at a time when we least expect it (Matthew 24:44). The goal, therefore, is to be ready continuously. The problem is that many are not eagerly awaiting the Lord’s return. For example, an acquaintance who is a devout Christian, is always saying, "Lord, hurry back." She shared with me a Christian sister’s reaction to her comments after worship service. The sister told her to stop asking the Lord to hurry back, because she had things she wanted to do and was not ready for Jesus to return. She suggested to the acquaintance that if she wanted to be in the presence of the Lord, she should just die. Are we living our lives eagerly awaiting our Savior's return, or are we like that sister, who is so attached to this world that we want Jesus to delay His return?
Saints, this place is not our home. Let's not get so attached to this world that we miss God. Jesus is coming back! Will you be ready?
Elder Shirley Freeman
Daughters of Zion Women's Ministries