Sermons

Summary: On the whole being prepared isn’t a bad thing. In fact it can be downright crucial! Most people I know that have had a very difficult life, it is not that they could not have done much better in life, it was simply a lack of preparation.

TITLE: READY OR NOT

SCRIPTURE: ST. MATTHEW 25:1-13

I remember with great fondness growing up and spending weekends and holidays with my grandparents in Keyport, NJ. Both sets of grandparents lived just blocks from one another. One of my grandparents lived right next to the City Cemetery. I believe it is called the Green Grove Cemetery which dates prior to the Civil War.

• There were large trees throughout the cemetery

• There were places for families to sit throughout

• Sometimes there were work vehicles there as well

• Some of the old grave stones were very large

We come from a large family along the Shore Points of NJ. At any given time there would be 15-20 cousins together running through the streets and playing various games. Most of my Aunts and Uncles lived within blocks from each other and we would run and play from house to house. One of my fondest memories was playing HIDE AND SEEK with my older siblings, cousins, neighborhood friends - which was often played in the Cemetery because of the many places we could run and hide. In fact, sometimes the problem wasn’t finding a place to hide, but simply choosing which spot would be the right one this time.

• Children don’t play outside any more

• Video games and cell phone all day long

• Consider going outdoors as punishment today

I remember back in the day, at the start of each round of the Game, we would gather around one of the large trees in the Cemetery and the counter would start counting – 1… 2… 3… 4… 5… – and the hiders would start hiding. There was always a mad dash for some of the favorite spots and no end to strategizing.

• Did you want a great spot far away from base or something that might be a little more exposed, but with a shorter run?

• Did you want some place low to the ground or did you want to climb?

• If you were indecisive, you might still be looking when the counter announced, “48… 49… 50! -- Ready or not, here I come!”

“Ready Or Not!” Those are the words that could strike terror in the hearts of the unprepared, those with no place to hide, no cover chosen for this round of the game. I can still feel the panic of not being ready, and apparently I’m not the only one who has this sort of anxiety. That need to feel ready, to feel prepared can be a highly motivating emotion.

Marketers have realized this for years. Much of advertising, if not designed to make us feel like we are incomplete, is designed to make us feel like we need to be prepared, Much of marketing seems to be based on making consumers feel like they need to be prepared, ultra-prepared, maybe even over-prepared.

• We spend much time in Preparation

• Are you prepared for Winter?

• Are you ready for the big game?

• Better stock up on snacks so you don’t run out

• Are you prepared for the New Year?

• Are you Prepared and will your loved ones have everything they need when you are gone?

• If you not, it’s time to buy insurance

• All so that you are ready

• So that you are prepared when that important day comes

On the whole being prepared isn’t a bad thing. In fact it can be downright crucial! Most people I know that have had a very difficult life, it is not that they could not have done much better in life, it was simply a lack of preparation. Look what happened in August 2005 when a city, a whole region wasn’t prepared for HURRICANE KATRINA.

• Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced from their homes

• More than $100 billion of damage was done across 90,000 square miles

• Nearly 2,000 people died all because of gross under-preparation

• No, being wisely prepared is more than a good thing, it can be life-saving

This New Year 2018 is already a week old today. We tried to make Preparations for this New Year.

• Some made last minute adjustments to their finances preparing for this New Year

• Some called Accountants to determine how the new Tax Law would affect them

• Others made Preparations to do better with Church attendance

• Others made Preparations perhaps to retire during this new year

• Some made New Year Resolutions resolving to make changes this year

• No matter what we attempted to do, the New Year is on us – Ready or Not

Maybe that’s why our first glance at this parable most likely leads us to hear it as a call to preparedness. The WISE bridesmaids brought enough oil to keep their lamps burning and then they brought even more. The FOOLISH bridesmaids, who really did just what was expected, had enough oil with them but not more than enough.

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