Expectation Needs Preparation
Matthew 25.6-10 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.
All were expecting, but not all were prepared. Talk about missing the party! ☹
One of life’s greatest ironies is to live in the expectation of something and yet not be prepared for it to arrive. In fact, it’s counterproductive, not just to our progress, but to our faith as well.
Preparation is an act of faith itself because it’s fueled by some expectation of what’s to come. Like with prayer, promotion, and success in anything, our posture makes all of the difference.
In this passage, the bridesmaids were expectantly awaiting the arrival of the groom. Jesus uses this as a metaphor for how we await His return today. He describes what their preparation, or lack thereof, looked like: “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.” Matthew 25.3-4
Success happens when preparation meets opportunity.
God is never short of opportunity, but we are often short of and MIA in preparation.
When you really think about it, our lack of preparation is often rooted in unbelief rather than laziness or oversight. Because if you believe something is coming with any kind of certainty, it motivates you to move and posture yourself for the catch. True, sometimes our lack of preparation is an innocent oversight — we just didn’t know or fell victim to distraction.
Jesus doesn’t want us to fall victim to distraction or oversight, especially as it relates to His return (the heart of His message here). While Jesus is emphasizing being prepared for Him specifically here, this paradigm of living with expectancy and in preparation stands true for every other area of our lives too.
Preparation is more than just a formality, it also speaks to our stewardship and response to God [obedience]. It’s said that if you get ahead of God, He’ll shut the door in your face. But if you get behind Him, He’ll find someone else (Steven Furtick). Responding well to God means moving in sync with Him — not ahead or behind. He leads, we follow.
How we prepare says everything about what we believe and what we’re ready for. It’s like showing up to the gym in dress clothes — we were never prepared (or willing) to do the work.
I never want to miss or miscarry a blessing or opportunity simply because I was unprepared. The most intentional thing we can do in responding to a promise [of God] is an act of faith that postures us to walk in expectation by preparing for it.
You cannot catch the ball if your hands are not open.