By: Libby Carpenter
Keep watch…be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you least expect Him.” Matthew 24:42-44
I don’t know if it’s because we’re in our golden years or because of the chaos in the world today – especially the moral decline in our beloved America, but God seems to be urging us to be prepared, as never before, for Christ’s second coming. He desires we look forward to the new heaven and new earth. The season of Advent –four weeks before Christmas – is a time of waiting and preparation for Christ’s return.
St. Paul tells us in his letter to the Colossians (3:1- 3) to “set our hearts and minds on things above, not so much on earthly things.” One way we can do this is to be aware of His Presence with us at ALL times and in ALL our circumstances. He is always aware of us, concerned with every detail of our lives. (Read Colossians 3:4 – 4:6) for how to live until He comes.)
Advent can also be a time to see our lives from God’s perspective and seek what He desires for us – the activities that are truly important. Remember, life on this earth is a journey to prepare us for our real home – Heaven. God is shaping us through all our life experiences, for a greater lasting purpose.
We have been studying Matthew 24 and 25 – Jesus’ teaching on the Mount of Olives about the future. In chapter 25, Jesus told three parables to illustrate ways we can prepare for our Forever life. Perhaps you will take time to be still in these days of waiting and read these stories, asking God to reveal His truths to you.
Parable of the Ten Virgins (Matthew 25:1-13)
The word “virgin” denotes purity; therefore the virgins represent “good” people. Why did only five have enough oil? Oil represents Christ and the Holy Spirit; perhaps the five foolish virgins were trusting something other than Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to save them.
ASK yourself: Am I trusting in my good works, or maybe hoping my parents’ faith will save me? God saves us by His GRACE (not our good works—Ephesians 2:8-9). Every person is responsible for their own salvation— we can’t count on someone else’s faith to carry us.
Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30)
This story shows the necessity of using well what God has entrusted to us. God gives us time, gifts, and resources according to our abilities and He expects us to invest them wisely until He returns.
ASK: How well am I using the gifts God has given me?
Parable of the Sheep and Goats (Matthew 25: 31-46)
We should love every person, no matter their status, and serve others in need. To treat all persons we encounter as if they are Jesus is no easy task. However, if we love God with all our heart, we will reflect His love to others.
ASK: How well am I loving God and my neighbor?
By: Libby Carpenter