Rabbit hunting with an empty gun
By Sparta Live | June 10, 2019 9:12 am
By Steve Qualls – Christpoint Church
Several years ago, my brother and I decided on a cold, snowy day in the winter to go rabbit hunting. We walked for hours, and, finally, the dogs ran out one single rabbit from a brush pile. I pulled my gun, took quick aim, and – nothing. We had walked so long, I had given up on the way to the truck and emptied my gun. I pulled the trigger but soon found that if you want to shoot a rabbit, while rabbit hunting, then rule number one would be to load the gun.
Jesus taught along these lines considering “the real rule number one.” In the book of Mathew chapters 22 and 25, Jesus compared the kingdom of heaven to a wedding, a bridegroom, each of us, and preparedness. He said the kingdom of heaven is like a wedding feast planned for a son in which no one showed. The feast was planned and executed perfectly. The king had prepared his best for the meal, still no one showed. Some ignored the invitation, while others became so enraged they killed the messengers. The king finally became angry and sent his troops. They killed the murderers and burned the city. His final response to his servants was, “The wedding feast is ready, but those invited were not worthy.” The key word in this story is simply “is.” The wedding “is” ready, not “was” ready. Our invitation is still valid. God has given his best, and we have stamped tickets for entry.
However the other parable in Mathew 25 tells of 10 virgins who took their lamps to meet the bridegroom. Five were considered wise because they brought extra oil for their lamps. The other five were considered foolish because they didn’t. Eventually, their oil ran out. They left to buy more, and, in their absence, the bridegroom returned. Those that were prepared made it, and those that were not failed. Jesus even instructed that we should always be prepared because we would not know the day or the hour. Jesus is coming whether we like it or not. He’s returning for his bride (the believer) whether we’re ready for him or not. Notice with me that all 10 virgins had lamps, half weren’t prepared. So the saddest existence is to go through life preparing for everything except the return of Christ, living like he is a myth or an outdated story. How does your lamp look? Does it need oil? Does it need dusting off? You know the life you live; that’s the one lamp you’ve been given. It would be a shame to miss out on the best thing in life because of a few ounces of stubbornness and neglect. Remember in this story the five that were not focused on the bridegroom begged to get in but we’re not permitted because of their lack of preparation. God’s righteousness is the door, and this story proves that every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. The question is, will you be on the inside proclaiming him or will you be on the outside begging to get in? There is no third option. Only your relationship or lack of can answer that question.
My father-in-law used to say, “I think it’s going to be harder to get into heaven than most people think.” I think he said that not because salvation is hard. I think he said that because being and staying prepared is hard. Kind of like rabbit hunting with an empty gun.
Let us help you keep your lamp energized and filled. Meet us at Christpoint Church on the square in Sparta this Sunday. We have a service time and service style for every person – 8 a.m., traditional service, 9:15 a.m. and 11 a.m., progressive. I look forward to seeing you there. We’re real people, living real lives, serving a real God. Welcome home.