Running a race without knowing the finish line – Sermon excerpt from Nov. 8, 2020

For the entire sermon podcast click here.

The bridegroom did not return when expected…from The Message translation

The parable of the bridesmaids in Matthew 25:1-13 hinges upon the above point. Without the delay, we would never have seen the difference between the wise and foolish. For all were invited, brought lamps, got drowsy, slept, awoke, and trimmed their lamps – but only the wise brought extra oil and were therefore present when the bridegroom arrived allowing them to 1) enter, and 2) enjoy. It’s not enough to be invited! It’s much better to get into the party. And the difference boils down, in this parable, to some brought extra oil.

When the finish is delayed it may cause us to –

  1. Give up
  2. Question God’s love
  3. Question what we have done wrong

Jesus is more concerned about 
our readiness/preparation than his return’s timing.

How do we run a race without knowing where the finish line is? Three parables about the judgment in Matthew 24-25 show what it takes to run the race:

Take care of your household, bring extra oil, use your talents

1. Community connection (household caring)

2. Spiritual practices (oil filling)

3. Serve others (talent stewarding)

None of the above are news to us. These are foundational practices we have heard from the earliest moments of our faith journey. Be a part of a church. Read your bible and pray. And make sure to take care of others. Let us not grow tired of the very practices that God sends to help us run the race and run until the finish line. Rather than look for the novelty may we rededicate ourselves to the tried and true.

Published by Todd Nelson

I'm one of the pastors at First United Methodist Church in Lexington, Kentucky where I've served for the past thirteen years. The sub-title of this blog is "Grace is no accident" which happens to be the defining reality of my life. God's grace (gift) is the reason we have breath in our lungs and hope in our hearts.

%d bloggers like this: