Sunday, September 4, 2011

This Little Light of Mine

The day I began this blog we had a power outage at about 9pm.  The late summer heat had spiked to 98° that day and when the power went out I knew that things were about to get uncomfortable.  No worries, though, I have a backup plan – a generator.  More on that after a word from our Sponsor:
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps. Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’  But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’  And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.  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, for you do not know the day nor the hour.  (Matthew 25:1-13)
Jesus told this parable three days before He was crucified.  Just as Jesus taught His followers to live with a sense of urgency about His mission, He also cautioned them to live expectantly for His return.  This parable of the Ten Virgins is loaded with cultural references, but even 2000 years later, we get the point – be prepared, stay prepared.

Which brings me back to the generator.  I bought the generator years ago.  With winter ice storms and summer drains on the grid, outages are to be expected.  I gassed it up and even added a fuel life extender since I never knew how long it would be before I would need it.  Faithfully, once a month I would fire it up and let it run a little while just to keep it in working condition.  But, as the parable goes, “while the bridegroom was delaying”, I lost my sense of diligence.  I began to let three or four months go by between starts.  Finally, about a year ago, it wouldn’t start at all.  That’s when I began the famous “I’ll get around to it” plan of generator maintenance.  Then the lights went out.

When the power went out this week, I didn’t even bother going out to the deck to check on the generator.  I just sat in the sweltering heat and chastised myself for my sloth. 

Followers of Jesus must live expectantly.  I remember people ranging from my mom to the youth pastor exhorting, “Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want Jesus to see if He comes back while you’re doing it.”  As an idiot juvenile I found a way to dismiss that wisdom.  Now I’ve lived and learned that wisdom is not something you dismiss.  You embrace it, closely. 

It is not enough for followers of Jesus to know what to do, to have a plan.  We – you and I – must live out the plan.  The midnight cry will be heard soon.

Clark H Smith

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