To Come Up Short

I usually get my cards out before I pump gas at Costco, as everyone in the long line behind me appreciates efficiency. The difference between the well-seasoned Costco gas customers and the newbies is obvious. It was a few days before the Memorial Day exodus, and I was finally next in the gas line. I’d been waiting at least 10 minutes in an exceptionally long one. The time had come to dig in my purse. No wallet. Not in my purse, in the floor, or in the seat. For me to come up short in the Costco gas line is shocking, inconvenient, frustrating, and extremely embarrassing. First of all, it’s a line. And I’m in it. Maneuvering my car out of the line and to the crowded exit lane is not only challenging, it produces such anxiety that I’ll need a shower. Not only am I embarrassed and stressed, I’m angry that I failed to put my wallet back in my purse. But the worst part of this story is that I couldn’t get gas. Yes, there are other gas stations around town, but this one is 10 seconds from work and 10 cents less a gallon. I came up short.

 

Coming up short is not the end of the world until it is. When Jesus comes, it’ll be too late. You won’t be able to run home and fill your lamp. In Matthew 25 of the Holy Bible, Jesus tells a story to His disciples illustrating the lateness of the hour. The groom hasn’t yet arrived for the wedding and everyone is waiting. In Middle Eastern culture, when the bride’s maids (whose job it was to light the way for the groom to enter), hear the sound that the groom has arrived, they light the trimmed wick in their pre-filled lamps and head out to welcome him. Since there was no option for the groom to text, call, or to send an email, the maids were to be prepared, as they had no time frame. They knew he would come eventually but didn’t know the exact time. I don’t know about you, but I thrive on a deadline. I operate best when I know what I’m supposed to do and when I’m supposed to do it. Reminds me of the natural birth of a baby. It comes when it’s ready and not a moment sooner. Sure, the baby sends painful warning signals beforehand, but its mother nor anyone else can predict the exact time of delivery. That’s why the time of preparation is so important. Had I been one of the bride’s maids in Jesus’s story, this would’ve been a nightmare for me. Jesus made the analogy that, of the 10 maids, 5 were ready and 5 were not, as they were asleep when the groom arrived. Wake up. Get ready; for nobody knows the day or the hour when the Bridegroom will come.

 

Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect. Matthew 24:44

 

“But stay awake at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are going to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.” Luke 21:36

 

Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him, and all tribes of the earth will wail on account of him. Even so. Amen. Revelation 1:7

 

In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 1 Thessalonians 15:52

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Suzanne Sommerville

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Christ-follower, daughter, mom, Mimi to 6 grandchildren, teacher, writer, and musician

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