This week I’ll be including scripture from several different translations. Yesterday’s was from the New International Version (NIV), today’s from the Common English Bible (CEB). I usually read from a variety of bibles over the week, finding the somewhat different wording adds to my understanding of the lesson. However, I always find the same message no matter what words are used. God is constant and consistent and His word and His love are unchanging.

Our scripture this week is Matthew 25:1-13.

“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten young bridesmaids who took their lamps and went out to meet the groom. Now five of them were wise, and the other five were foolish. The foolish ones took their lamps but didn’t bring oil for them. But the wise ones took their lamps and also brought containers of oil. “When the groom was late in coming, they all became drowsy and went to sleep. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Look, the groom! Come out to meet him.’ “Then all those bridesmaids got up and prepared their lamps. But the foolish bridesmaids said to the wise ones, ‘Give us some of your oil, because our lamps have gone out.’ “But the wise bridesmaids replied, ‘No, because if we share with you, there won’t be enough for our lamps and yours. We have a better idea. You go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were gone to buy oil, the groom came. Those who were ready went with him into the wedding. Then the door was shut. “Later the other bridesmaids came and said, ‘Lord, lord, open the door for us.’ “But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ “Therefore, keep alert, because you don’t know the day or the hour.

Jesus teaches us about patience in this parable. We are not patient people by and large, tending to become frustrated when we aren’t able to get things done as we’d like. We always seem to be in a hurry, wanting everything to happen now!

Jesus says God’s kingdom doesn’t work like that and all our petty agitation at having to wait won’t change His plan. Instead of becoming angry, we should ask ourselves “What does God want me to learn in this time He has given?” I have a good friend who prays for people in the store while waiting in line. He uses the gift of waiting to calm himself and intercede for others.

If we look at these interruptions in our schedule as God’s blessing rather than impediments, we may develop a more patient attitude with ourselves and others. When you are delayed today, pause and ask God what He has to show you in that moment. You may find things you would have missed if you had just hurried on through your day.

Gracious God, help us to slow down and pay attention. Show us the benefit of spending time in prayer and enjoying the wonder of Your creation. Amen.

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