Guide Me

Today’s Reading: Matthew 25:1-46; Luke 19:11-27

Every day Jesus would go to the temple to teach, and each evening he returned to spend the night on the Mount of Olives (Luke 21:37). One evening while Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives his disciples came to him privately with their questions. “Tell us, when will this happen? What sign will signal your return and the end of the world?” (Matthew 24:3).

Their request was like that of the psalmist and their desire to understand was very much like our own. Show me. Teach me. GUIDE ME.

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long.
– Psalm 25:4-5

Jesus wanted to help them understand what was ahead so he painted three word pictures. These were the final stories or parables that Jesus used to teach his followers for this was the week before his death. What significance is there to what Jesus has saved for last?

Picture this: Ten bridesmaids stand waiting for the bridegroom, five have come prepared with extra oil for their lamps and five have not. By the time the bridegroom arrives, only five bridesmaids remain. The other five did not have enough oil to keep their lamps lit. They were not prepared for his coming and therefore missed their opportunity to go with the bridegroom to the marriage feast. The door was locked by the time they returned with more oil and they were left standing outside. It was too late (Matthew 25:1-13).

What keeps my light burning? When I neglect my time in God’s presence, I miss the chance to daily be filled with His Spirit. When I am not feeding my relationship with Jesus and I find myself empty, my light begins to fade. “But he called back, ‘Believe me, I don’t know you!’” (25:12). The bridegroom is coming back for those he has a relationship with, those he knows by the Spirit living within them.

Picture this: A man is going on a long trip. He is going to be gone for a long time so he calls in his servants and entrusts them with his money while he is gone. He gives five bags of silver to one, two bags to another and one back to the last servant. When he returns, he finds that the one with five bags of silver has invested the money and earned five more. The servant with two bags of silver has earned two more. To both of these servants, the Master responds, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!”

However, the last servant has not been about his Master’s business while he was gone. Perhaps he was lazy or focused on his own treasures instead of building up treasures for his Master. The servant brings the one bag of silver back to his master, having done nothing with that which was entrusted to him. “You wicked and lazy servant!…Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with ten bags of silver. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” – (Matthew 25:14-30)

What has God asked of me? To what has He called me? What am I doing with what He has entrusted to me? Is my life marked by multiplication or am I simply maintaining the status quo?

Picture this: The Son of Man comes in all His glory. Angels surround Him as He sits on His throne. All the nations have gathered in His presence and He begins to separate the people into two groups, as a shepherd would separate the sheep from the goats in his flock.

To those on His right, the King will say, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me…I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” – Matthew 25:34-40

To those on His left, the King will say, “Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons. For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink. I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me…I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.” – Matthew 25:41-45

“And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous will go into eternal life.” – Matthew 25:46

Jesus’ time was nearing the end and he chose to talk to his closest companions about eternal punishment and eternal life. This topic was obviously very important to Jesus yet how often do I consider the reality of these two endings? How many of Jesus’ followers today accept the truth of Heaven and Hell.

Lord, give me eyes to PICTURE THIS – people around me with needs, both physical and spiritual. Help me to PICTURE THIS – YOU in the eyes of those in need around me, both physical needs and spiritual needs. Fill me with a love and passion for the unsaved that desires to save them from a life marked by hunger, nakedness, sickness and bondage. Give me eyes to PICTURE THIS – people around me walking on the path that leads to eternal punishment. Forgive me for taking their destiny lightly and only focusing on my own future with You. Master, may I hear you say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!” (Matthew 25:21)

Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior and my hope is in you all day long.
– Psalm 25:4-5

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