For our editorial lesson today I'd like to talk for a few moments about "preparation." As in, how prepared are you for an event that, as I write this, is still coming at sometime in the future. And, I'm sure that you can figure out the "event" of which I speak. The great day of our Lord's return. Also known as, the Day of Judgment.
When you think about it, that really is a misnomer. It could more accurately be entitled: The Day of Sentencing. The "judgment" is going on right now. Our lives are being judged by the only "righteous Judge" (2 Tim. 4:8) and when our days come to a close, there is no way of changing anything. Our case has been heard and, in keeping with the theme of our lesson, there will be no more time for preparation to be made for this event. Our soul will just be awaiting sentencing.
In thinking about "preparation" or "being prepared" we have numerous examples to look at that can help illustrate our lesson today. We here at Highland are located in Southern California, a hot-bed of earthquake activity. Periodically we're shown where the faults are located by our local newspapers and television stations. And, we're always being advised to prepare for "the big one" by having our "earthquake kits" stocked and ready. I wonder how many of us do.
And, there are other examples we can look at regarding "preparation." How about New Orleans? Do you think very many of the inhabitants were prepared for the devastation of the hurricane and the flood due to the subsequent breach of the levee? Even though they lived within sight of the levee and had been warned of its insecurity? Obviously they weren't.
We saw in the great fires of a couple of years ago that many of those whose houses burned down were not prepared insurance-wise for a catastrophe. Every now and then we hear about someone lost in the mountains because they went hiking there and were unprepared for weather changes or unfamiliar territory.
Christ gave us a great example of "being prepared" when he told His disciples the parable of the "wise and foolish virgins" in Matt. 25:1-13. They all knew about the wedding and they knew that they would have to wait for the wedding party to arrive, it's just that they didn't know exactly when their arrival time was to be. In other words, they did not know how long they would have to wait. You know the story, half of them were prepared and half not prepared even though they all had the same information and knowledge.
I heard a story the other day about a man who I'm going to hold up as an example of one who IS prepared and it's his story that inspired my thoughts today.
It seems that there was a man whose job is to find executives for large companies. They call them "headhunters" and they basically recruit executives from other companies to switch to the ones they work for. This particular "headhunter" had what he thought was a great system for analyzing a potential executive. It was a system designed to get the interviewee relaxed and off guard and then ask them a question that would consternate them and he'd watch their reaction.
His system was to disarm them by offering them something to drink and then take his coat off, undo his tie and prop his feet up. He would then engage them in a conversation about sports, family, travel, whatever, until he felt that the person was relaxed. Then he'd sit up, lean over and look them directly in the eye and ask: "What's your purpose in life?" He said that it always amazed him how many of them would fall apart at this question.
It's one of his interviewees that turned the tables on him with his answer to "the question." When the headhunter looked him straight in the eye and asked him his purpose in life, the man simply replied, "To go the heaven and take as many people with me as I can."
The headhunter said that, for the first time in his career, he was speechless. And I would imagine so, because he had encountered someone who was prepared. Someone who was ready, because that's what "prepared" means. I would say that this man would be one who had brought extra oil for his lamp, wouldn't you?
Here's our lesson. Ask yourself the same question, "What's your purpose in life?" and then think about your answer. Or, let's put it this way - "How much oil did you bring for your wait for the bridegroom's arrival?"