I want to be ready for whatever God gives me to do, or say, or be, in any given moment. I want to be like the five wise virgins, who prepared well and were ready to go with the bridegroom when he came for them. I do not anymore want to be like the five foolish virgins — (though they were wiser than I in one significant way, but that is another story for another time!) – I don’t want to be like the foolish ones who didn’t prepare, and when they ran off to get what they needed the bridegroom came and they didn’t get back in time and they were left out in the cold. (see Matt 25:1-13)
Benjamin Franklin has been oft quoted as saying, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” If the reader wants to read about what others have found out about this saying go here.
In any case, I want to be one of the ready ones, so I can go with Him when He comes for me.
Aside from the overriding mandate given to us by Jesus, to love one another as He has loved us, giving his very life for us, most of us are far from having a vision for specifically what that means in our day to day lives.
Unfortunately, I do not know either, not for sure, not exactly what I should be doing at any given time, and there is not a check list for us to follow. Wouldn’t that be nice?…. |Do these ten things at the sunrise, the noon hour and the sunset, and you will certainly be ready.” Nope, no such benchmarks to complete; (if the reader finds the definitive list, send them my way).
So, until the Lord shows me otherwise, I will follow the way of the simplest solution I could find. No list to follow, no program to complete; just follow Him. I have come to believe that we are simply supposed to be doing what He is doing at any given time and we will always be with Him and then we will simply walk right into eternity with Him.
Fortunately, the Scripture tells us a bit about what that looks like:
NOTE: a brief video of this next few paragraphs presented at my church a few weeks ago can be found here.
Scripture is the thing that strengthens me, I believe it is the thing that strengthens all of us, strengthens and lifts us up. I would like to share with you a couple of verses today, from Ephesians 5:17-17
“Be very careful then how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil, therefore do not be foolish but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
Whenever I introduce anything with a scripture, I am always reminded of why I do that. Mentors over the years have always done it. And it seems we always want to know what the scriptural precedent for anything is. But it is more than that to me.
Living according to my own understanding, living as if God’s word does not matter, has had major costly consequences for me—major costly consequences for people I love. While living in the aftermath of life according to my own understanding, I concluded in 1972, through a series of painful realizations, that whenever God and I disagree, I am the one that is wrong.
How do I find out what God thinks about something? My main source is through reading His word and talking through it with Him. So, when I use the scripture to introduce a point, I am giving my understanding of the only authority of which I can be sure.
We are inundated with a lot of “authorities” with conflicting messages. All the time, not just this season. So, it is just really encouraging to me to know that there is one authority we can count on — the ultimate authority—I can grow in knowledge, and learn what God thinks, in the school of the Holy Spirit, our teacher, through His word.
I would just like to underscore that phrase “make the most of every opportunity.” It is easy to think these days that “….well when I can get out of this place, this house, whatever, … this situation, I will start looking around for opportunities, … what could be here where I am?”
But that could not be farther from the truth. While you are there, wherever you are, there is God providing opportunities; we need to be looking for them and making the most of them. And then, we will simply be right there with Him, ready for anything He has for us.
Father, I could go on and on and give examples of making the most of opportunities, small and large, but if I did that then I would be casting a vision for something very different than what you might be doing in the lives of each reader of this blog. Speak to them individually Lord; show them what you have put right in front of them. I lift to you the desire of our hearts Lord, that we would be people who are looking for the opportunities you place in front of us — right here and right now — and with hearts ready to do and make the most of every opportunity. Show us our part that you give each of us to do. I claim this in Jesus name, Amen.
Founding DirectorMary is one of the founders of Where Grace Abounds and served as Executive Director from its inception on July, 1986 through March 31st, 2007. She speaks and teaches at churches and conferences across the country. She has also served on several boards of non-profit organizations, is a conference speaker on a variety of topics that include: Intimacy with God, Healthy Sexuality, and leadership development. Currently serving in leadership in her denomination, Mary’s favorite ministry roles are discipleship counseling, group facilitation, and leadership development. Mary often characterizes herself as “a seeker of Truth” and has a long-standing fascination with human behavior and motivation. Her education consists of lay and discipleship counseling, independent study about the integration of psychology and theology, counseling and human sexuality. She also holds a BS in Human Services and an MA in Psychology from Regis University. Mary attends a Friends (Quaker) Church.
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