Abraham Lincoln is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s greatest presidents. He guided the fragile country through its most troubled period – the Civil War. How does someone take upon themselves that mantle of leadership? The key is in preparation. Lincoln was quoted as saying, “I will prepare and some day my chance will come.” He was self-educated, driven, and, though he suffered multiple political defeats, won the office of the presidency in 1860. His preparation for the future was the catalyst that drove him to action in the present.
In Matthew 25, Christ is talking to His disciples about the importance of preparation. This is still part of His “Olivet Discourse” where He is answering their question about the signs of the end of the age. After giving them some signs to look out for in Matthew 24, He shares with them about the necessity of being always prepared for His return. His parable of the ten virgins deals with the difference in those who are preparing and those who are not. His parable of the talents highlights the difference in those who are active while waiting for the return of the master and those who are not. Lastly, His story of “the least of these” highlights, again, the necessity of actively preparing for the return of Christ by always ministering to those around us.
All of this ties back into the words of Christ in Matthew 24:14 where He says, “This gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” Christ is emphasizing the obligation that we have as Christians to be preparing for His return. We are not to be as those who have no oil in their lamps, or who buried their talents, or who neglected their neighbors in need. Rather, we must be those who are re-filling the oil in their lamps, who are investing in others on the Lord’s behalf, and who are serving our neighbors in the name of Christ. By doing this, we are not only ministering to those around us, we are also being faithful and obedient to the Lord’s commands and preparing this world for His return.
Take some time this week and conduct some self-examination: How prepared am I for the return of Christ? Have I given my life to Him? If not, then please do it now. The end of the chapter provides a very stern warning about hell and those who reject Christ. If so, then what are you doing? Are you doing your part to preach the testimony of Christ through word and action? Do you spend time with Him every day? Do you share His words with others? Are you seeking to meet the practical needs of your neighbors in the name of Christ? Like Abraham Lincoln, my prayer is that our preparation for the future becomes our catalyst for our action in the present. It is truly an incredible thought to imagine that through our efforts, we may actually bring about the return of Christ! There is no more glorious purpose that we can dedicate our lives to than this.
Each week this blog will be updated with a word for the week from my current studies.