We went on an overnight trip. You would be surprised at the things I pack for an 'overnighter'. I always think, what if this happens or that happens. I'll need this for this and that for that. So what would ordinarily be one bag or backpack turns into three or four containers of stuff. For instance, Sunday afternoon, we traveled north to visit with families for the July fourth holiday. As usual, all kind of important gear was loaded into the pick-up. I took running shoes in case I wanted to get some miles in while there, extra batteries for the hearing aid, and other assorted items. I like to think I am fairly self sufficient and have everything I might conceivably need.
One area of interest that I overlooked was the impending weather while we were visiting. I presumed temperatures would be mid 70s and above. I figured minimal clothing options would be fine. Shorts, tee-shirts, and sandals should do. A bit more attention to long range forecasts might have been good for this short trip. I nearly froze! I mean, it wasn't like there was snow or sleet in Clearfield county but the overcast skies and steady breezes left me a little chilly. I wasn't the only one.
The love of others was offered to those of us sitting around the tables shivering. One offered to get light blankets and jackets out of the house for our use. Not to be a burden to anyone, we mostly declined their offers. Much like the events of this parable as told by Jesus in the book of Matthew, we were responsible for our predicament. In speaking about the Kingdom of God, Jesus made a point to illustrate our need to be ready and plan ahead.
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the
bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not
take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a
long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the
bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish
ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ “ ‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may
not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But
while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in
with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. “Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said.
‘Open the door for us!’ “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore keep watch,
because you do not know the day or the hour." (Matthew 25:1-13, NIV)
As we journey forward in faith, it is wise to plan ahead and be prepared for changing environments and have contingencies in place to address needs as they arise. Unlike temporary discomfort over forgotten warm clothing for cooler climates, missing the boat to eternal life is a permanent discomfort that will never get better. Make sure you love God and have submitted to the authority of Jesus and His love and grace.
PS: It should be pointed out that I took no personal hygiene items with me on the overnighter. Just another boo-boo on my part....