This morning we leave for a short, three-day camping trip. In fact, as soon as I finish writing this post I’ll be up to my eyeballs packing enough camping gear to sustain nine people in the semi-wild for a few days. (Thankfully, it’s Nathanael’s job to figure out how to cram it all in our van.) This trip is a direct result of my practically desperate need to make sure we bond as a family before the summer’s out. Tell me, how can it be that we’re knocking on the door of yet another school year? Already?
Dad always said, “Time flies. And the older you get, the faster it goes.” I have learned that this, like so many other things he told me, is absolutely true. The good news is there’s something we can do about this. No, we can’t slow time down. Yes, we can prepare for eternity.
I had the privilege of teaching this lesson to my children (and reinforcing it in my own heart) the other night at our devotion time. We are studying the ministry of Jesus and happened to be in Matthew 25, where Jesus taught the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins. It begins like this:
“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. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.”
Even those who have never heard this story can likely guess what happens next. The bridegroom returns, and only the five wise are able to join Him at the wedding feast because the five foolish were away finding oil to fill their lamps. The lesson Jesus taught here is that we are to be ready for Him. We are to keep ourselves ready to be called Home at any time, and ready for His return.
The truth is that it’s not just this month that’s going fast, it’s not just this summer, or this year, it’s this life. Your life. My life. The reality of life is that “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” (I Peter 1:24-25) We aren’t meant to be here forever, and that’s a good thing. What’s coming next is so much better that we can’t, in our wildest dreams, imagine what’s in store, for “eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.”
Eternity is coming, but it’s not something to fear. It’s something to look forward to with joyful anticipation. So,how can we prepare for it? How can we keep our lamps full and be ready for Christ’s return? We need to be in the Word, every day. When we go to church, we fill our lamps. When we open the Bible, we fill our lamps. When we spend time with the Lord in devotion and prayer, we fill our lamps.
So the next time you think or hear the phrase “time flies” let that serve as a reminder to check the oil in your lamp, and to take some time out of this busy life to prepare for the next one.
*image courtesy of standrewsclayton.org