26 August, Friday — Preparing for the real thing

Friday of Week 21 in Ordinary Time

1 Cor 1:17-25
Mt 25:1-13

“The bridegroom is here!”

People who know me today will be surprised to find out that as a teenager, I was interested in the sport of bodybuilding. One of the most interesting things is the non-season and season phases. During the non-season phase, bodybuilders tend to bulk up on their eating. They eat voraciously and gain excess weight to create the ‘raw material’ for this sport. As they reach the competition season, the bodybuilders will begin shedding the excess weight (and water). They will reduce their food consumption and shift their diet to high protein and low-fat items.

As such, bodybuilding relies on timing, and predictable timing at that. What happens if one was pulled off-season to join a bodybuilding competition? He would not do well!

Unlike the bodybuilder, we cannot predict how and when our time on Earth will end. We cannot wait until the time of our ‘exit’ before we begin our preparations for our eternal life.

I saw the same principle happening to my son as well. At the time, he was into judo. His coach wanted to sign him up for a competition, for a weight category that was below his (then) weight, but it was quite some time away. I remembered my son procrastinating, and he was typically saying, “I will start training, running and dieting tomorrow”. The starting kept getting kicked down the road. 

The stress came to within less than a week before the event. My son started fasting and running in the gym. I remember even bringing him to the gym to sit in the sauna in order to reduce his weight. Before the weigh-in, he wrapped himself in multiple layers and ran around the stadium.

All in vain. He failed.

And that was with him knowing the deadline. 

How could my son have handled this better? Simple (although it is far from easy). He just needed to maintain consistency. Consistent diet. Consistent exercise. 

For us, rather than waiting for the ‘end’, assuming that it is even predictable, we need to begin building our relationship with our Lord today. This deeper relationship is a journey and not a destination. In doing so, we begin to learn to be like the wise bridesmaids!

(Today’s OXYGEN by Paul Wee)

Prayer: Father, help us to have a desire to be closer to You. Be with us, day by day, in our journey towards You.

Thanksgiving: We are grateful for Your teaching and reminders to us to always be prepared for You.

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