Many of us have figured out a few rituals to get ourselves going in the morning.
These little morning rituals, while they may not seem like a big deal, can really make a difference in a person’s day. Sometimes though, we neglect those rituals: we roll out of bed late, barely have time to dress, and spend the rest of the day trying to recover from our weak start. In the same way our spiritual lives are dependent on the practices and habits we employ to energize ourselves. Even the best of us have times when we leave our kindness at home because we didn’t spiritually prepare. We read in Matthew 25:
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.”
“Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.”
It is powerful to consider that in this parable, oil symbolizes love. Love is the spiritual fuel that energizes our day and gives us spiritual light. It is the source of our spiritual happiness and the reason we smile when we see another human being. The five wise virgins in this story represent both men and women who have put time and effort into nurturing their spiritual state and so have collected a supply of spiritual love. The five foolish virgins, on the other hand, represent those who have not given the time or effort needed to nurture their spiritual state and have not collected a supply of spiritual love.
“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’”
The Lord, who is the Bridegroom in this parable, shows up in our lives every day in opportunities to be kind and useful to each other. The Lord said later in this same chapter, “inasmuch as you… [showed kindness] to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” The question is whether we will be ready for Him.
Have you ever said something you regretted to another person or made a stupid decision on the spur of the moment just because you were feeling bad? While it may be nearly impossible to be a happy person when we feel like this, it does not necessarily get us off the hook. Often our spiritual course has been set long before we have a particular opportunity to be useful and kind.
“And while they [the five foolish virgins] went to buy [oil], the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.”
Sadly, often people miss a chance to act kindly because they were unprepared. So here are some questions you can ask to prepare yourself for when the Lord shows up in your life:
- Have you been setting aside time to read the Word?
- Do you know what bad habit or evil you are working on removing in your life?
- Is there anything disorderly going on in your life connected to addiction, deception, lust, or anger?
- Are you working justly, faithfully, and honestly at your job?
These are questions you can ask yourself on a daily basis. You can make the effort to make sure you wake up with enough time to really get your day going right. As you sit in your favorite chair, drink your favorite drink, and soak in the morning light, keep a small spiritual checklist on the table next to you so that you can go over it. Taking care of your spiritual state is not only an important practice; it is key to your salvation. Be sure your lamp is full.
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”