So often we can describe the character traits and quirks of our parents and overlook that there are great lessons to be learned from the way they lived out their life. My father was organized and ready for anything. When we went on vacation, he would prepare the camping gear and make lists of what to take. He would ensure that everything was in working order and he planned for any kind of inclement weather.
It wasn’t this way just with camping. Dad was always early in case there was a problem with traffic or anything else that might cause an unexpected delay. He was a man who was always ready to leap into a task with confidence because his preparation afforded him that very confidence. Sometimes my father’s diligence in preparation was simply an annoyance to me. Why did we always have to be early? Why can’t we just load the camper on the day we leave?
It may have taken decades, but I now see that my father was a very wise man. Preparation is a mark of wisdom and this is a truth that is applicable in every sphere of life. When it comes to facing our ultimate day of judgment, preparation (being ready) sorts out the wise from the foolish.
In Matthew 25:1-13 Jesus tells a parable about the wise and foolish virgins. Ten virgins went to meet the bridegroom, but the bridegroom was delayed. They all had lamps but only five virgins were wise enough to take oil with their lamps. When the bridegroom arrived, only five wise virgins were actually ready to meet him. The parable ends with the daunting prospect of the five foolish virgins obtaining no recognition from the bridegroom and being sent away.
Jesus uses this parable to make one big point. He is going to return and none of us know the time or the day that he will return. The time therefore to be prepared to meet Christ is now.
This is very similar to the illustration of the wise and foolish builder that Jesus uses with his disciples in the closing comments of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus makes a huge distinction between wisdom and foolishness in that only the wise man was truly prepared to weather the storm because he had enough sense to be serious about the right foundation. When we stand before Christ on judgment day, our seriousness about preparation will be evident. Did we heed his warnings about our need for a Savior? Did we heed his warnings about what true saving faith really is? Were we truly confessing Christ as Lord or was it just lip service? Those who are wise will be serious about our future judgment before Christ. We will be serious about that future time today and every day until his expected and yet unexpected return.
My Dad was a man who attempted to prepare for all matter of contingencies. Most of all, my Dad was a man who prepared for Christ. I witnessed his relationship with Jesus as he prayed in his favorite chair. I watched him preach the gospel and teach the Scriptures. I saw him appeal for our need to know Jesus before it was too late. I saw him arrive early to do all those things. I witnessed a wise man. A wise man (or woman) is a prepared man (or woman). It is someone who lives their life every day in faith by preparing to meet Jesus. That preparation should be seen in every aspect of our life. It took me too long to see the wisdom of preparation in my father. Let us not look over this lesson when it comes to standing before our Heavenly Father.