“Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten bridesmaids who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. The five who were foolish didn’t take enough olive oil for their lamps, but the other five were wise enough to take along extra oil. When the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. “At midnight they were roused by the shout, ‘Look, the bridegroom is coming! Come out and meet him!’ “All the bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. Then the five foolish ones asked the others, ‘Please give us some of your oil because our lamps are going out.’ “But the others replied, ‘We don’t have enough for all of us. Go to a shop and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were gone to buy oil, the bridegroom came. Then those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was locked. Later, when the other five bridesmaids returned, they stood outside, calling, ‘Lord! Lord! Open the door for us!’ “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’ “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return.
Matthew 25:1-13 NLT
I have heard this message preached and read it often. Messages and thoughts about being prepared and always on watch. Procrastination, that is what came to me as I read this passage recently. The wise bridesmaids were prepared because they bought supplies and brought the extra oil with them. They did not put off what they could do now.
The foolish bridesmaids procrastinated. They brought only what they had instead of going and getting more in advance. They missed their opportunity with the bridegroom. I was sharing this thought with my daughter and she pointed out they also robbed the bridegroom of His opportunity with them.
There is a scripture in Ecclesiastics that says there is a time for everything under heaven. That means that when God lays on our heart to do something, we need to pursue it then. Pursue it with consistency. While it may not come to pass immediately, we can’t put off the process hoping to be ready when it does come to pass.
Most things require a time of preparation. When we procrastinate and say “I’ll do it later.”, often, later never comes. We are focused on us at that time and opportunities pass us by. We fail to consider we are also robbing others of the very things they may need.
I heard a preacher recently say that his congregation would be upset if he came to church unprepared. We would consider him a foolish to procrastinate in preparing his message. Yet the congregation also has a responsibility to be prepared. The congregation is the soil where the preacher spreads his seed (the Word of God). We have a responsibility to be prepared also when we step in to church. We can’t procrastinate and expect the praise and worship team and preacher to make us good soil.
Not knowing anything about soil, I started to search for more information. I found out that nitrogen is a key ingredient in good soil. Air is made up of 72% nitrogen. I immediately thought of the popular song “You are the air I breathe.” We take in what our soil needs from God directly. He makes us good ground.
Good soil also needs fertilizer. Fertilizer is made up of compost or manure. This is what is what is left over when we feast. God is the bread of life we are called to feast on. Our soil may be fertilized by the overflow of the preachers and teachers we listen too. In addition to the things shared by fellow believers.
The work of the five-fold ministry is to equip the saints to do the work of the ministry and build up the body of Christ. It doesn’t stop once we have been made good soil and start producing fruit. We fertilize the soil of our community with the overflow of our lives. God always gives us more than we need. We can’t hold on to what He has placed inside of us. We can not procrastinate growing the fruit of the spirit in our lives, as that is what falls to the ground and fertilizes the soil around us.
We should be filled with so much love that it overflows to even the most unloveable. the world is supposed to know we are Christians by our love. We should be filled with so much joy that our overflow fills the air. We should be filled with so much peace, that it floods our environments. We should practice so much patience that it seeps into the lives of the most impatient people. We should exhibit kindness so that others begin to express it also. We should be filled with so much goodness that even the world around us responds with goodness. We should be filled with faithfulness that makes to world take notice that we do what we say and say what we do. Gentleness should be how we handle every situation, so that even the most brutal force is quieted. We should be filled with so much self-control that regardless of what comes against us we respond as Jesus would instead of reacting as the world does.
As Christians we have to stop putting off the things of God. We can not procrastinate when there is a dying world around us. It is the quality of the soil that determines how the seed produces. The work of the soil happens before the seed is planted, and then continues after. It is foolish to procrastinate readying ourselves for the seed.We have to spend time in prayer and reading God’s Word outside of church. We have to take time to pour out what has been put inside of us. Our ministry is to the world, and they are not preparing to receive the Word, it is foolish for us to not prepare ourselves for them.