“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they did not take extra oil with them; but the prudent ones took oil in flasks with their lamps. Now while the groom was delaying, they all became drowsy and began to sleep.
But at midnight there finally was a shout: ‘Behold, the groom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. But the foolish virgins said to the prudent ones, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps are going out.’ However, the prudent ones answered, ‘No, there most certainly would not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the groom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.
Yet later, the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’ Be on the alert then, because you do not know the day nor the hour” (Matthew 25:1-13 NASB).
A Jewish sage, a contemporary of Jesus, told his disciples, “Repent the day before you die.” His disciples responded with the question: “Who knows the day of his death?” To which their master replied, “Yes, therefore, one should repent every day.”
A number of Jesus’ parables called upon His listeners to be ready, for no one knows their final day. He contrasted the wise and foolish maidens as those who were ready and those who were not prepared. His point: Be like the wise maidens—be ready.
We don’t like to think about our final day, but we will all have one. Our society often does everything it can to avoid thinking about our end. Jesus didn’t seek to scare His listeners, but like His contemporary, He sought to remind them that this life is short and it’s not the end.
How we live in this life is preparation for the next. And at any moment, on any day, we could meet the Judge of the universe. Are we ready? How can we be ready?
By daily seeking to live our lives in submitted obedience to God. By finding the daily humility to repent. It’s not complicated. It’s not scary. But it is real. How will you live today? Will you live with eternity in view? Be prepared and repent the day before you die.
Father, we humble ourselves before You. Forgive us when we fall short of obeying You. May we always be ready to stand before You. Amen.