Growing up in the South, I was accustomed to heat and humidity, lush vegetation and beautiful, tall trees that peppered the landscape, providing both shade and landmarks so as not to be lost. When evening came, the sunlight slowly faded to darkness that was salted with heavenly stars.
When we moved to the desert in my early 20’s, I soon learned that the desert had its own raging, dry heat, no discernible landmarks except for a sparse cactus here and there, and that night descended almost immediately when the sun sank behind the desert mountains like a curtain dropping at the theater. Without landmarks, getting lost was easy! The cardinal rules for survival were being aware of where you were, always carrying water and a blanket in the car, not letting the gas tank get anywhere near empty, and making sure you had a light if you were somehow delayed. The bottom line was: be prepared!
When Christ told the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25, this was His spiritual survival story to us all. Those who had adequately prepared for the wedding were ready when called. Those who had not prepared weren’t ready and were shut out. Further in Matthew 25, Christ explained to those on His right hand, that they would go to an inheritance that was prepared for them from the foundation of the world. But just a few short verses later, He speaks to those on His left hand, that they would be doomed to everlasting punishment that had also been prepared.
To be certain, our preparation or lack of it, ensures our eternal inheritance or punishment. Along with the Psalmist, we can pray, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139: 24-25).