Last night there was a rather heated exchange outside. It appears that our neighbours had installed a satellite dish on the side of the house without getting permission from their landlord, who was passing through the area and was evidently none too keen on the idea.
Somehow this shouting contest got me thinking of the parable of the ten bridesmaids in Matthew 25. (I’m not quite sure why I was reminded of this particular parable, but I was feeling a little sleep deprived at the time. Perhaps it was the banging on the neighbour’s door that prompted it.) I’ve been reading Matthew a lot over the last couple of weeks, and what I really like about this gospel is that Matthew focuses a lot on Jesus’ teaching on the Kingdom of Heaven, often through parables.
“keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Matthew 25:13
Now I’m no great theologian, but the message of this particular parable is to be ready because God’s Kingdom is at hand. Yes, the Kingdom has already arrived in the person of Jesus Christ, but it has not yet arrived in all its fullness until the end times. In church we’ve often sung the lyrics “No weeping, no hurt or pain, no suffering…” (or, according to our senior pastor, “No more bad stuff”!). Yes, there is still plenty of weeping and hurt and pain and suffering in our world, but this will fade away. In the meantime, through Jesus’ grace and the blessings of the Holy Spirit, we have a glimpse of Heaven on earth.
I love how the kids in the Compassion projects, despite the abject poverty of their circumstances, can experience a taste of Heaven and have the opportunity to come to know Jesus as their Saviour. I love that for just £21 a month I can facilitate the holistic growth of a child I will probably never meet, yet be confident that they will learn about Jesus and all He has done for them. And maybe, just maybe, that child will make a personal decision to make Jesus Lord of their life (joining the 159,000 Compassion children that did last year).
In the meantime, yes, there will be suffering, yes, there will be pain… but as for me and my house, we will worship the Lord (and do all that we can to get more kids sponsored).