I had just finished my afternoon grocery shopping expedition and pulled up to the red stop signal, waiting my turn to drive on. While waiting I noticed a man getting into his car at the gas station. The well-groomed, suited, attractive man slid into his freshly polished, Candy-Apple red Porsche Carrera, hooked a left turn out of the gas station and ended up in the far left lane where he joined me waiting for the light to change. He was in his own world and hadn’t noticed my observation of him as he adjusted the rear-view mirror to smooth his eyebrows, adjust his tie, and what appeared to be checking for wrinkles.
As we waited for the light to change, a rather content yet exhausted looking mother pulled up in the lane between us. Her beat up faded green Nova sputtered and smoked as her car rolled to a stop. With a teen in the front seat and two playing toddlers in the back, she appeared to have her life full of responsibility, as she engaged the enthusiastic teen and attempted to control the tag playing toddlers in the back.
The light finally changed and the mother and myself drove on, leaving our well-groomed Porsche driving gentleman to wait for his left turn light. As I drove on, I pondered both drivers. They were both in their own worlds, focused on what was coming next in their lives. I imagined the man was on his way to an important business meeting or a very important date, where his grooming really mattered. I imagined the mother had finished her work for the day, picked up the kids, was on the way home while considering what she would make for dinner as she also engaged her teen and kept her toddlers in line. Multi-tasking at its finest!
I was reminded of a few scriptures (Matthew 24:36-44) where the writer speaks about the return of Christ. No one is aware of the hour - that just as in the days of Noah, so also will be the coming of the Son of Man. What was it like during the days of Noah? Life was normal - a time of prosperity where people were buying, selling, marrying, planting, and harvesting – just livin’ life according to their own terms. They ate, drank, married right up until the time Noah entered the ark. Then the flood suddenly came and they were destroyed. In Noah’s day there was plenty of warning, but no preparedness. Why? Because they didn't heed him, they mocked him. It wasn’t as real as what they could tangibly see and touch. Most Christians have become indifferent about the second coming but the bible clearly states the earth will be just like Noah's day, which is not a pretty scene. While there is nothing wrong with eating and drinking, marrying etc., the problem comes in not heeding the signs of the times and getting and staying prepared.
The second scripture I was reminded of was Matthew 25:1-13 – the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. Five were prepared with oil to wait for the bridegroom, and the other five were not. While the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight a cry was heard and the bridegroom was coming. The five virgins with oil were prepared.
The five without oil were not. The five without oil wanted the five with oil to share theirs, but they declined, as they wouldn’t have enough. The five without oil left to purchase oil and were locked out of the wedding. The lesson: be prepared and be watchful.
I got to thinking about all of us at the stoplight. Are we ready? Have we recognized Him and paid attention to the signs of the times and the warnings? Are we prepared? Do we have our oil (Spirit of Love)? Are we watching as well as waiting? Or are we just eating, drinking, marrying, having attitude, being resentful, unforgiving, and manipulative?
I love these moments because they ever challenge my inner motives and spirit. Where am I in relation to all of this? Am I ready? If Jesus came back before I reached home, would I be ready? Would my heart be pure? That is the challenge for all of us – to be aware, to be watchful, to be ready. While the return of Jesus could be anytime, we never know when it is our “last days”. I’ll never know if my BMW driving road mate made it to his appointment, but I do know on that fateful day someone didn’t. I’ll never know if my very-busy mother made it through the rest of the week, but somewhere at that very moment someone was in their last hour and didn’t know it. Someone had they’re own “last days”. What about you? Are you ready?