Let’s have a quick recap. We’ve been talking about chronos and kairos – God’s way of keeping time. There’s chronos time of working and waiting, the ordinary passage of seconds, minutes and hours. Then there’s the moments where heaven invades earth, God moves and chronos seems to stop for kairos to take place.
Christians are like surfers who’ve caught the wave, experienced God, and now we live working and waiting not counting the cost but keeping our eyes on Him, ready for next time we see Him move.
Yet every little moment, no matter how incredible it may seem, is a foreshadow of that great day that is to come – the day when Jesus returns and everything is made new. We want to be ready to meet Him, to catch the wave. How do we do it?
Jesus taught a surprising amount on this. The chapter I want to focus on is Matthew 25. True to form, Jesus teaches in two profound stories.
First, he speaks of 10 bridesmaids waiting at night for the bridegroom to come with their lamps at the ready. In Jewish wedding the bridegroom would come to the bride’s house at night for the ceremony to take place then take everyone back to his home for celebrations. These bridesmaids are waiting and they need their lamps shining. 5 are wise and have taken extra oil, 5 are foolish and haven’t.
When the bridegroom finally comes, the foolish bridesmaids have to go and buy oil. By the time they return the bridegroom and the wise bridesmaids have entered the wedding feast and the door is closed. When they bang on the door, the foolish bridesmaids are told by the bridegroom, “Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.”
A strange response don’t you think? I do not know you. He doesn’t mention whether their lamps are lit or not, whether they have done good things or not. The one qualification for entering the party, for coming into the wedding celebration, is whether the bridegroom knows them.
If you want to be ready for Jesus when he comes, there is really only one question that matters – do you know Him? Or, more importantly, does He know you?
The qualification for being ready for Jesus is relationship. Those wise bridesmaids were ready when he came. Even in the dark, when he came suddenly like ‘a thief in the night’, they knew him for who he was. How? Because their lamps were burning.
Their lamps would have needed constant topping up with oil. They would have given off a light that may not have expelled all the darkness, but gave them enough to be seen and to recognise the bridegroom when he came.
Oil in Scripture is often a symbol of the Holy Spirit. We are called to be those who keep our light shining. It may often feel like our little life, our little light, is not enough to stop the darkness that surrounds us. That is not our job. Our job is be ready. To be continually filled with the Holy Spirit. To take time every day to be with Him, to pray and worship, to enjoy the Spirit, to let Him fill us up. Then we will be ready and able to recognise Jesus when he comes. It is Jesus who will take us out of the darkness and into His celebration. In the meantime, our light may be enough to let others know that a bridegroom is coming, no matter how unlikely it may seem.
I hope you hear in this the enormous encouragement I hear. When Jesus comes He isn’t that concerned about whether I have achieved great things, changed the world or expelled the darkness. He wants to see my face and for me to see His. Is there oil in my lamp? Am I in relationship with Him? Will He know me when He comes?
Today take encouragement from this. Put down your striving and make time to simply be with God. This is the main purpose of chronos, the main work we do is to ‘tarry’ with the Lord – to simply be with Him. Next post we’ll look at what Jesus expects from our abilities and talents…