Preparing Ourselves for the Kingdom of God
Good morning, Gathering church.
My name is Rob; I’m one of the pastors here. If this is your first time joining us, I’d like to welcome you. If there’s anything that we can do for you while you’re here, find me or one of our members after service and we’ll be happy to help.
Let me ask you a question this morning. Have you ever found yourself waiting for something, but you didn’t know when it was going to arrive?
Pastor Scott and his wife, Bonnie, recently went through this. For the past several months, they’ve been expecting the arrival of their new baby boy, John Micah Day, who was born on Wednesday morning, and if you’ve gone through a pregnancy or you’re close to someone who has, you know that there’s a lot of preparation that goes into welcoming a baby into the world.
When we found out that my wife, Cass, was pregnant with our daughter, Emma, I was thinking, “Well, we’ll get a crib, slap some sheets on it, get some clothes and diapers, and away we go.” One and done. Right?
Wrong. “What color should the baby’s room be? Modern or vintage? Do you like this shirt better, or this shirt? Rob, isn’t this the cutest little dress?!”
And I’m standing there like, “Uhhh… As long as she’s clothed, I’m happy?” Dads, am I right?
So you have preparation that needs to be done. And you know you have a certain period of time in which to complete that preparation—your due date, which is an estimate of when the baby will arrive. And then as you get closer to your due date, there are certain signs that indicate that the baby might be coming soon. A kick here. A contraction there.
But outside of that, there’s no telling when the baby might arrive. Morning? Night? A week early? A week late?
When Emma, was born, Cass and I went in to the hospital for a checkup, and they’re like, “Whelp, your water is broken, so we’re going to need to induce labor.” And so it’s our first baby, I’m thinking “Sweet. Bring her on. We’ll be out of here in two hours.”
Little did I know, Emma takes after both her momma and her daddy; she’s a stubborn child. 22 hours later of labor later, baby Emma popped out. You never know when they’re going to come.
But at the moment that the baby comes—no matter what you’re doing at the time—there is absolutely nothing in this world that is more important than that child coming. It’s fascinating just how disruptive a tiny little six-pound human can be in a daily routine, isn’t it? Call up the parents, go to the hospital, call the midwife or the doctor. If dad has a job, call up the boss and tell him you won’t be in that day—right, guys?
Everything around you comes to a halt and all attention is on getting that little baby out. No matter what time of day it is, no matter how prepared you are (or aren’t), you have no choice but to address that child.
And so, if you’ve experienced the preparation and arrival of a child, you have a good working framework for understanding and interpreting our passage today. This morning, we’re going to look at the arrival of our King—the second coming of Jesus Christ—and the preparation, anticipation, and expectations that come along with His return.
We’ve been tracing the Kingdom of Heaven throughout the book of Matthew. We know that Jesus is the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords, who reigns sovereignly over all creation.
We know that, as Christians, we are subjects of the King and citizens of His Kingdom, with all of the privileges and responsibilities that come along with that citizenship.
We measure the compassion of our King by His sacrifice on our behalf, bearing the weight and shame and penalty of our sin against our Creator as He hang on the cross. We serve a King who, unlike human kings and rulers, laid down his life for the sake of the Kingdom—knowing that it was only by laying down his life that he could obtain the Kingdom and rescue its inhabitants from their slavery to sin.
We measure the power of our King by His resurrection, as He climbed out of a grave, conquering sin and death for eternity, and we know that, in the Holy Spirit, we have access to that very same power that raised Jesus from death.
We know, as we’ve preached in this pulpit before and as Pastor Luke will revisit in a couple of weeks, that as citizens and ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven, that we have been commissioned by the King to labor for His Kingdom while he prepares for his return.
And yet, we find ourselves in a time between the first coming of the Christ and His second coming. We find ourselves in a time and place in which we have experienced a taste of the Kingdom, we’ve seen a glimpse of the glory of the eternal King who reigns and rules sovereignly over His creation, but we have not yet seen the full realization of that Kingdom.
And our passage today addresses how we, as Christians, can live as we await the return of our King. We’re going to learn how to respond as we look forward with anticipation to Jesus’ return. We’re going to learn two important preparations that we need to be making in our short time on this earth, and we’re going to learn the rewards and consequences associated with engaging or not engaging in that preparation.
Our passage this morning is Matthew 25—Matthew 25—but we’ll be starting a few verses before Matthew 25. So if you’ll open your bibles there, turn to Matthew 25, and then we’ll back up a few verses and get to work this morning.
Let’s start in Matthew 24:36. Matthew 24:36. Jesus, referring to his return, says this:
36 “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. 37 For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, 39 and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one left. 42 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
All throughout His ministry, Jesus has gone out of his way to describe the hidden and unexpected nature of the Kingdom of God. As Pastor Luke showed us a few weeks ago, he compared the Kingdom to a lump of leaven that was hidden in three measures of flour. Marnie has gotten many of the ladies in our congregation hooked on making bread. My wife was making a batch of bread last week, and she started by mixing up some yeast and sugar, and mixing it with some flour to form a small lump of dough. And I looked at it, and I’m thinking to myself, “Surely, she’s going to make a larger batch of bread than that.”
So then she put the little lump of dough in a bowl and covered it up. And a few hours later, without any intervention on our part, I see the towel that was covering the bowl start to rise up in the middle. A little while later, the small lump of dough had begun overflowing the bowl.
My expectation was that the bread wouldn’t amount to much. But because of the leavening power of the yeast within the bread, it couldn’t help but to grow until it overflowed the bowl. Not only did Cass bake one loaf of bread, she baked two loaves of bread.
So is the Kingdom of God. It starts small and unassuming, and you look upon it and think nothing of it, but when you’re least expecting it, the bread has leavened and it’s ready to bake.
And so Jesus here is again emphasizing the unexpected nature of the Kingdom of God. He says that no one knows the day or the hour, but we must be ready, verse 44, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.
He shows us the in-or-out, exclusionary nature of the Kingdom of God. Two men will be in the field—one will be taken and one left. Two women will be grinding at the mill—one will be taken and one left.
So, unlike some self-described spiritual leaders would tell you these days, the message of the Gospel, the proclamation of the Kingdom of God, is inherently exclusive. There will come a day when Jesus will return, and on that day, some will be granted entry into the Kingdom and some will be left out.
So the question we have this morning, church, is who? Who will be granted entry into the Kingdom of Heaven, and who will miss out? What are the characteristics of each group? How can we prepare for the return of our King, what will he expect when he returns, and how can we be serving him while we await his arrival?
The answer to that question is in Chapter 25. Jesus gives us two parables for showing us the difference between each group—those who will be welcomed into the Kingdom and those who will be turned away. He’s going to give us two postures that faithful Christians must adopt while we wait for the return of our King.
Let’s look at Chapter 25, verse 1. We’ll read both parables, and then we’ll come back around to discuss.
25 “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.
And now the second parable.
14 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. 15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. 17 So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ 21 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ 26 But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
Alright. These two parables give us two postures that Christians must adopt while we wait for the return of the King. Jesus expects two things from His Church when he arrives. He expects that he will find them awaiting his return, and that he will find them laboring for His Kingdom. Awaiting His return and laboring for His Kingdom.
These two parables show us two types of preparation that we need to be doing as we await the coming Kingdom. The first parable—the parable of the virgins—shows us the inward, or spiritual preparation required for the Kingdom of Heaven. The second parable—the parable of the talents—shows us the outward, or physical preparation required for the Kingdom.
Or, to use biblical language, Jesus is showing us the relationship between faith—the inward—and works—the outward. Both are important disciplines that we must develop as Christians. In fact, if you are truly expecting the return of Jesus, you will naturally follow his commission to advance His gospel and you will be found laboring for his Kingdom when he arrives.
So let’s look at each one of these parables and draw out the lessons that Jesus is teaching us through them.
The first is the parable of the virgins. The scene is this: a wedding is about to take place. In those times, much like today, between the time a couple became engaged and the time they got married, both families would need to make preparations for starting their new lives together. The bride’s family would prepare the wedding celebration while the groom would prepare a home in which the couple would live. And this season of preparation would take place over around a year’s time.
This would be a time of great excitement and expectation. They knew the wedding day was coming, and so all of their energy would be directed toward preparing the celebration. Everyone would have their roles—the families, their servants, the wedding party, and, of course, the bride and groom.
Once the preparations had been made, the groom would come to collect his bride. The bride would know that the groom was coming, but she wouldn’t know exactly when he would arrive. So they would need to be prepared to receive the groom on a moment’s notice.
The groom would arrive with his attendants—like our modern groomsmen—where the bride’s female attendants—like our bridesmaids—would be waiting for him. Because they weren’t sure exactly when the groom would arrive, it was important for the bride’s attendants to be prepared for his arrival.
As they would wait for him, they would carry lamps with them to light the way in case he arrived in the night—which the groom often did.
And once the groom arrived, the bridal party would enter into the family home for the wedding celebration.
So our parable begins with the bride’s attendants—the ten virgins—awaiting the arrival of the bridegroom. They had one job: welcome the bridegroom and escort him into the wedding feast.
Our attendants arrive at the place at which they were supposed to meet the bridegroom—and he doesn’t show up. So they wait, lamps lit, expecting to see him approach in the night. But no one is there.
Some time passes. The groom doesn’t arrive and the bridal party is growing tired. Eventually, they all fall asleep.
Sometime later, they hear a shout in the darkness. “Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!” This was the moment that they were waiting for. This is the culmination of a year of preparation.
The bridal party springs into action. Five of them look down, trim their lamps, and refill them with oil, ready to welcome the groom.
The other five, however, look down to discover that, because the groom was delayed, their lamps had run out of oil and were burning out. How are they to welcome the bridegroom if they can’t light the way?
In their desperation, they look to the wise virgins, who came prepared. “Give us some of your oil,” they pleaded. But the wise virgins could not share—if they shared, there wouldn’t be enough oil to go around and all of their lamps would burn out.
So the foolish virgins went to the market, desperately searching for a merchant who would be selling oil at that time of night.
In their absence, the wise virgins, those who had been ready to meet the bridegroom no matter what time he arrived, they met the party and escorted them into the wedding feast and the doors are closed behind them.
Finally, the other virgins come to the feast, but they find the door closed and locked. They pound on the door… Surely, the groom would let them in. “Lord, lord, open to us!”
But a reply comes from the other side of the door… “Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.”
They had missed out. They had missed their chance to meet the groom, to welcome him, to celebrate with him, and there will never be another opportunity. Because they had failed to prepare for his arrival, they forfeited their entry into the celebration and missed out on their relationship with him.
Of course, this is a parable describing Jesus’ return to be reunited with the Church after he has established the Kingdom of Heaven. The wise virgins are those who have been looking forward to the arrival of the King and who have been preparing themselves for his arrival, while the foolish virgins are those who, for whatever reason, were not yet ready for the King to arrive.
Perhaps they expected the groom to arrive at a time that was convenient to them. Perhaps they didn’t expect him to arrive at all. Perhaps they even mocked the “goody two shoes” virgins who had been so overzealous in their preparation. “He’s not coming,” they said. “Save your time. Live and let live. You’re not going to miss out on anything.”
Nonetheless, they misjudged the timing of the groom’s return.
But the wise virgins were prepared. They knew that the bridegroom could arrive at any time, and it was their duty to be prepared to meet him when he arrived. They made preparations to welcome him, even if he came late. They had built up a reserve of oil for their lamps so that they were prepared when the groom did arrive. They had been investing their time wisely anticipating his return. They had planned ahead. They didn’t wait until the last minute. They were ready for his arrival.
It’s interesting that in this parable, both groups seem to fail at their duties. While they were supposed to remain vigilant, awaiting the return of the bridegroom, they all fall asleep, much like the disciples fell asleep at Gethsemane as Jesus prayed in the garden.
But the single point at which each group reveals the posture of their heart toward the bridegroom is at the call to meet him. The wise virgins who were prepared to meet him were eager and ready to do so. They had rehearsed this moment in their heads. They had every contingency planned out. So when they heard the shout that announced his arrival, they jumped up and sprang into action.
Those who weren’t prepared, however, found themselves rushing to make the necessary preparations—but it was too late.
Up until that point—up until the arrival of the bridegroom—there was nothing that would distinguish the two groups. They would have been dressed for the part. They would have had their makeup on, their hair done. They even had their lamps in hand.
But it wasn’t until the exact moment when the groom arrived that demonstrated whether or not they were truly ready to meet him. And so, as the foolish virgins found themselves pounding on the door pleading for the groom to let them in, their attitudes reflected that they had no genuine interest in serving him—they were only serving themselves.
Church, let me ask you this. Are you prepared for Jesus to arrive? Are you ready for the day that he returns, knowing that no one knows the day or the hour at which he will come back?
Or are you going to find yourself in the position of the foolish virgins, who thought to themselves, “I can put this off until tomorrow. It’s not that important. He’s not coming today anyway.”
Jesus says, “Watch therefore…”
We must prepare ourselves, Church, for the arrival of our King. The Church is the bride of Christ. As we speak, he is hard at work preparing a Kingdom for us, and we must be hard at work preparing for his arrival. We must be vigilant, with our eyes set on the horizon as we wait for the first glimpse of the bridegroom when he returns. We must be diligent in prayer, in the study of His Word, in our personal holiness, so that we might be presented without blemish when he arrives.
Church, do not neglect the inward spiritual disciplines that prepare your heart to receive Christ on his return.
The second parable—the parable of the talents—deals with our outward preparation—our obedience to the commission that we have been given.
If the parable of the virgins highlighted our need for inward spiritual preparation—faith in the return of our King—this parable demonstrates the need for outward obedience to His mission to build his Kingdom.
There are four characters in this parable—the master (who represents Jesus), and three servants, who represent Christians.
Verse 14 says, “[The Kingdom of Heaven] will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted them to his property.”
When a man would go on a trip, he would entrust his servants to manage his estate in his absence. He would leave with them his money and possessions with the expectations that they would be good stewards of his things while he was gone and, upon his return, he would expect to find his servants diligently working to maintain and grow his estate.
And so, the master in our parable gives each of his servants a sum of money—to one, he gives five talents, or around $5 million in today’s money, to another, 2 talents, or $2 million, and to the third, one talent, or around $1 million—and he leaves.
Notice that it say he distributed the money “to each according to his ability.” We all have different gifts, talents, and abilities. Some of us are skilled in business, others are skilled at sports, others are skilled at listening and communication. The man in the parable distributes the money to his servants according to how well they can manage finances.
This makes sense, right? If I’m going to give someone complete control over my finances, I’m going to give the person who is most talented in managing those finances the most responsibility.
Notice also that it doesn’t say that he told them what to do with the money, only that he entrusted to them his property, gave them the money, and then he went away. That’s going to be important because what they do with the money is going to reveal their relationship to the master when he returns.
While the master is gone, two of the servants invest the money and produce a return. The one who was given five talents made five more. The one who was given two talents earned two more.
And when the master returns, they present him with the money that they have made, and the master says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.”
There are a few observations to make here. First, the master’s response to each of the servants is the same—well done, good and faithful servant. It doesn’t matter that one servant made five more talents while the other only made two—what mattered to the master was that the servant was faithful to what he had been given. Because he entrusted his property to the servants’ care, he expected that they would be good stewards of the money that he had given them.
Second, the master finds joy in the faithfulness of his servants. He finds pleasure in seeing his servants complete a job well done. We talked about this sort of response a few weeks back when we studied issues of pride in the Kingdom—the master is displaying a righteous pride in the obedience of his servants.
Thirdly, the master rewards the servants by inviting them into the joy that he is experiencing—that is, he is welcoming his servants into relationship with him.
And therein lies the difference between the first two servants and the third. There is a relationship between the first two servants and their master—they work together for their mutual wellbeing. The master bestows upon the servants his gifts, the servants know that their master is good and, thus, they are careful to be good stewards of the gifts that they are given, and in return, the master rewards them for their faithfulness by giving them more responsibility over his estate and welcoming them into deeper relationship with him.
It’s trust and intimacy that makes the difference.
You see, the third servant responds in a very different way. Whereas the first two servants were quick and happy to offer up the results of their labor when the master came to settle their accounts with him, when the master comes to settle his account with the third servant, the servant doesn’t produce a return like you would expect him to but instead accuses the master of being “a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed.” “So,” he says, “I was afraid and went and hid your talent in the ground.”
Never mind the fact that this guy just buried a million dollars in the ground, which probably reveals a deficiency in his critical thinking ability, this is his way of saying, “I don’t trust you, I don’t respect you, and I don’t want anything to do with you.”
The wicked servant’s perception of the master is that he takes money he didn’t work for. His perception is that the master is a “hard man,” an unfair master who mistreats his servants.
And so the master doesn’t punish the servant because he didn’t produce a return on his investment, but because he deliberately disobeyed the master and, rather than investing the money in a bank where it would at least draw interest, he plotted to ensure that the master wouldn’t receive a penny more than he left in the servant’s possession because he was a “hard man” who reaped what he did not so.
Like the foolish virgins, the wicked servant looked no different than the good and faithful servants. He showed up, he did his job, and he went on with his life.
It wasn’t until the master arrived and called his servants to account that we discover what he actually thought about the master.
And so how does the master respond?
He says, “You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.”
He’s saying, “If that’s what you really thought of me, what did you expect I was going to say when I got back? Oh, hey, don’t worry about it, pal. Simple misunderstanding. You’ll do better next time.”
No! At the very least, he says, you could have put my money in a bank where it would draw interest. It would have required less effort than digging a hole big enough to bury a million bucks and I would have been pleased with the output.
But instead, the servant went out of his way to make sure that the money that he was given produced absolutely no additional return.
And the punishment for his wickedness was this, verse 28. “So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
It’s very important that we interpret this passage carefully, because it’s really easy to read into what’s happening here and fall into a works-based theology.
Let me tell you the wrong interpretation of this passage first. The wrong interpretation is that the wicked servant didn’t work hard enough, so the master punished him and condemned him to hell. That’s the wrong interpretation.
The right interpretation looks deeper at the motives of the wicked servant and his attitude toward the master. Remember that all of the money belonged to the master in the first place. All of it. And, as servants of the master, they were commissioned with serving him—they were hired to do a job, and that job was to be stewards of the portion of the master’s estate that they have been given.
So, too, God gives us gifts, talents, and abilities to steward and invest for the purposes of his kingdom. We need to understand that all of our gifts come from God and, as citizens of His Kingdom and servants of our King, it is our duty to invest them in a way that would bring our King joy.
Too often, we base our decisions about how we invest our time, talent, and treasure on what would bring us the most joy rather than what would bring our King the most joy. We fear that if we make a mistake, that if we do something wrong, that we will be punished, and so we keep our God-given gifts to ourselves and we don’t invest them for His glory.
And church, don’t get me wrong here… I absolutely can’t stand self-help, “Your best life now” motivational preaching. But you’ve been given gifts, talents, and abilities by the almighty God of the universe to invest and share for his glory and his purposes, and some of you need to quit worrying about what someone else is going to think of you and use those talents so that you can bring joy to your King and one day you, too, will hear the words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
That should be your motivation. That should give you boldness to use your gifts. That should be the prize that you work so diligently for.
Don’t let your fear of messing up keep you from stepping up. Let me just say… I know I’m not the best preacher in the world. I know I’m not the brightest theologian in the world—or even the room for that matter. I know I’m a mediocre musician. But I know that I’ve been given a set of gifts, talents, and abilities by my Creator and I know that He has commissioned me to use them for his purposes and for His Kingdom, and I’m going to do my best to be obedient to the charge that I have been given.
The faithful servants labored for the sake of the master’s estate and they were welcomed into relationship with him. The wicked servant despised his master, and he was cast into outer darkness, permanently separated from the goodness of his King.
Church, notice that in both of these parables, there is a servant/master relationship. That’s what Lord means. It means that, when you become a Christian, His agenda becomes your agenda. His mission and values become your mission and values. Everything you are and everything you have become His, and you surrender yourself completely and eternally, swearing allegiance to your King and renouncing any worldly identity that you have.
The Christian life is a lifelong process and struggle of putting to death the desires of your sinful human flesh one at a time and allowing the Holy Spirit to remake you piece by piece in the likeness of the God in whose image you were created. It takes both inward preparation and discipline and outward practice of that discipline.
You need to understand that if you don’t practice both spiritual preparation and outward obedience, you won’t be ready for Jesus when he returns. There’s a real danger here. Especially in the “Christian” West, it’s easy to believe that you’re a Christian and look like a Christian and talk like a Christian and even show up to church on Sunday mornings, but you know deep down inside that it’s all just an outward appearance with no real connection to or relationship with your King.
If that’s you today, I want you to be encouraged. I want you to know that it’s not too late—that we serve a God who will welcome anyone who comes before him and seeks relationship with him.
But you also need to know that when Jesus returns—it could be today, it could be tomorrow, it could be 2,000 years from now—but at that time, he will call each one of us into account, and only then will our true motives and our true hearts be revealed.
Will you be shown to be like one of the wise virgins or a good and faithful servant, preparing yourself and investing in the Kingdom while we await his return, or will you be revealed to be like one of the foolish virgins or the wicked servant, who looked like they were committed on the outside, but when the day came that they were called to put their faith into action, they discovered that they were spiritually bankrupt with no relationship to their King?
I have three questions to ask yourself before you leave this place today.
Number one… What does the way you spend your time reveal about the faith that you profess? You have 167 hours to spend in a week. If you were to keep a journal of your time, would it reflect the urgency of Jesus’ return like the wise virgins?
Number two… Are you investing the time, talent, and treasure given to you by God in His Kingdom to bring him joy, or are you investing it in your own kingdom and your own pleasures? The good and faithful servants were willing to sacrifice their own desires to put in the hard work that it takes to invest in the Kingdom of God. Are you willing to do the same?
Number three… If Jesus returned today, would you be ready to welcome him, or would you miss him because you were so distracted by your own agenda that you neglected to be attending to His? You can’t afford to miss Jesus, church.
I struggle with this one every day. Life is so busy, the distractions of the world so persistent and persuasive, that we can get careless in our spiritual preparation, our study of the Word and commitment to communing with our King in prayer.
The remedy is in verse 13: “Watch, therefore.” Guard your soul. Be diligent in your spiritual disciplines. Let’s pray together.