Latecomers and absentees (part 1): choosing between 'good' and 'right'
(This message forms part of a new series related to ‘being late or absent in the purpose that God has for us. Stay glued to your inbox in order to catch the entire series.)
A few years ago, while I was still a student at university, I was once late for an exam I was writing. The venue was located about 10 kms from where I was living and on the day of my exam, for the first time in my student life, I was 5 minutes late when arriving at the exam venue. As I got to the entrance door of the exam venue, one of the invigilators strictly denied me from entering. It was shocking. I was thinking: ‘how can he not allow me to enter?’
In spite of all my excuses, I was told to write my exam in the following semester…
The incident was a stark reminder that there is always a sad possibility to miss on God’s destiny by being late.
In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus shared a parable that teaches a few things on the consequences of being late on things related to the Kingdom of God:
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
In simple words, the foolish virgins were ill-prepared (for some unclear reasons) and they decided to get oil at the last minute. They decided to get oil at a time where they were supposed to enter with the bridegroom. The last minute agenda of the foolish ones suddenly clashed with what they were supposed to do.
Think of this:
*The 10 virgins represent the Christians
*‘Carrying the lamp with oil’ represents their role or mandate, just like all Christians have a role to play in the church.
However, here is the thing: ‘the foolish virgins did not exercise their mandate on time and consequently they were denied entrance.
Notice, in verse 12, that the response of the Bridegroom resembled the response that Jesus will give to certain people in Matthew 7:21. The response says: “I do not know you.”
You see my friend, it is possible to miss the Kingdom of God by simply being late in the mandate that God gave you.
Now that I have reached my 40s and in the spirit of sharing words of wisdom rooted in both knowledge and experience, I will share a very common reason that causes many Christians to be either late in their mandates or completely absent from their mandate. Here is one reason: “Choosing ‘good’ over ‘right’”
CHOOSING 'GOOD' OVER 'RIGHT'
Do not be fooled, today’s world has now distorted the meaning of many words and circumstances to the extent of even thwarting Bible verses.
‘Good’ and ‘Right’ are not the same.
In the Garden of Eden, when Eve was about to sin by eating the forbidden tree, the Bible says that she ‘saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye..’ (Genesis 3:6). Eve saw that the fruit was ‘good’ to eat but it was not the right thing to eat. Eventually, since Adam and Eve chose ‘good’ above ‘ Right’, they got kicked out of Eden.
The devil’s motto and plan has not really changed over the centuries. In many cases, when he wants to keep a Christian either late or out of their destiny, he will present them with something ‘good’ to replace the ‘right’ thing. And sometimes, it is us (Christians) who choose ‘good’ above ‘right’ without the help of the devil.
Sometimes, we can choose a seemingly good activity or a seemingly good choice above the ‘right activity or choice’ from God to our own peril. The foolish virgins surely thought that they were doing something ‘good’ by just coming without oil while the wise virgins decided to do the right thing.
Why am I sharing this?
You see my friend, as we become Christians, there is still a mandate or a purpose assigned to us. We can decide to be late in that purpose or absent from that purpose by pursuing seemingly good things at the expense of the right things.
God has only given us 24 hours in a day. You cannot fill your day with seemingly good activities and good choices while hoping that you will have time to live the right purpose that God has for you. You can’t!
A job may seem good but if it’s not part of your God given purpose, then it will lead you out of your destiny. Myself, I have been in jobs that clearly kept me away from doing God’s will and it took me years to understand that I had to make the right choices in order to live God’s purpose.
Simply because something seems or looks good, it does not necessarily mean that it is the right thing for your God given purpose.
Here is my final quote and I hope it will save most of you a lot of time:
As much as a choice or activity , other than the right purpose of God, may seem good, it will never produce the satisfaction that you will long for. From the moment you are born again in Christ, God will plant in you gifts and a longing for a specific destiny. You may try to replace it with something seemingly good but your heart will know that there is something missing.
How do I know that? I know that because I was there once in my life.
Remember as well that we have reached the end of ages, and we will account to God for our lives.
Therefore, choose the right thing.