Matthew 25-26

I grew up going to church and spent a significant amount of time in youth group. Youth group is a really challenging area of ministry. You’re trying to convince middle schoolers who are parched for approval into thinking outside themselves and believing the gospel. If you are involved in youth ministry right now, GOD BLESS YOU, because wow, 12 year olds are really different these days. And have Snapchat. Anyway! Something I remember being really suspicious about when I was in youth group was how easy they made Christianity seem. “Free gift” was a classic phrase. “All you have to do is believe that Jesus died for your sins” was a selling point.

When I started reading the Bible, I felt a little misled. Jesus said something about selling everything we own, Paul’s all extreme about everything and the term “dying to self” was brought up a lot. “Count the cost of following me”, Jesus warns.

I love the illustration about the bridesmaids in chapter 25 today. My commentary says “on the wedding day, the bridegroom went to the bride’s house  for the ceremony; then the bride and groom, along with a great procession, returned to the groom’s house, where a feast took place, often lasting a full week”. The bridesmaids were hoping to join in on the feast, but when the groom didn’t arrive on time, half of them were out of oil and missed out on the wedding feast.

This parable teaches us that spiritual preparation cannot be bought or borrowed at the last minute. Our relationship with God is our responsibility. He gives us everything we need to be in relationship with him, and is eagerly waiting.

I really like when Jesus sets boundaries with us. He is days away from literally laying down his life for us, and yet he says “you have a part in this too”. He pursues us, gently tugs at our hearts, relentlessly loves us and faithfully (yet unnecessarily) proves himself. But he wants us to be all in. He doesn’t want a lukewarm, indifferent, coat-tail-riding effort.

So, which type of bridesmaid (or man) are you? Are you putting your relationship with God on the back burner, planning to get to it later? Or are you actively preparing for Jesus’s return? What does that even look like?



One thought on “Matthew 25-26

  1. To be honest I still feel somewhat confused by this when I read the New Testament. I understand God’s grace and amazing gift of believe, repent and be saved – yet I continually get hung up on guilt, feeling like I’m not “doing” enough or serving enough, especially when I read verses like this. I think it’s a slippery slope when I feel like God is convicting, calling and encouraging me verses Satan whispering in my ear that God has given me so much and I’m a useless disappointment. Sorry that got kind of heavy but I liked how you unpacked these chapters. I think it really is about spiritual preparation and faithfully following where we are called. CS Lewis talks a lot about spiritual preparation and the idea that we are slowly working on our souls and becoming the person God wants us to be when we join him in heaven. Crazy to think about but so cool!


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