My gas light was on. Again. This time, the gauge was well past the “E” symbol that signified that my car was on the verge of running out of gas. I had pushed the limit several times before, just to see how far I could go before I really needed gas. That time, I ran out of gas at an intersection, causing traffic problems. My husband had to come rescue me. He didn’t appreciate that very much. This time I had to pick up two kindergarteners in 20 minutes and could not be late. I needed to find a gas station PRONTO!
I thought, “I should pray.”
I got an answer very quickly. An image popped into my mind and I understood the meaning immediately.
This painting is entitled “Five of Them Were Wise” in reference to the parable of the ten virgins as found in Matthew 25:1-13. I was being chastised for not keeping my gas tank full. Fumes got me to the closest gas station and to my kindergarten pick up on time. But my heart continued to ponder the deeper meaning of the image presented to me in my mind.
“Am I prepared?”
“Am I as foolish spiritually as I am physically?”
“What am I doing to fill my lamp?”
Elder Dallin H. Oaks gives some points to ponder on the subject of being spiritually ready to meet our Lord.
“What if the day of His coming were tomorrow? If we knew that we would meet the Lord tomorrow—through our premature death or through His unexpected coming—what would we do today? What confessions would we make? What practices would we discontinue? What accounts would we settle? What forgivenesses would we extend? What testimonies would we bear?
If we would do those things then, why not now? Why not seek peace while peace can be obtained? If our lamps of preparation are drawn down, let us start immediately to replenish them.”
“What is the state of our personal preparation for eternal life? The people of God have always been people of covenant. What is the measure of our compliance with covenants, including the sacred promises we made in the waters of baptism, in receiving the holy priesthood, and in the temples of God? Are we promisers who do not fulfill and believers who do not perform?”
The most poignant line for me in the parable of the ten virgins comes in the end of verse ten, “and the door was shut.” Every time I read that line I say, “No, not me! Don’t shut the door on me Lord. I will be ready.” Maybe I should print out a picture of the ten virgins and tape it next to my gas tank to remind me to literally and spiritually to keep my tank full and to start working on becoming one of the wise.
For more on this topic, following is content from lds.org on spiritual preparation for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ:
Oil in Our Lamps by Elder Lynn G. Robbins
Preparation for the Second Coming by Dallin H. Oaks
President Dieter F. Uchtdorf also talked about this in the recent First Presidency Christmas Devotional.
Look steadfastly for [the Savior’s] coming. The early disciples of Jesus Christ yearned for the time when He would come again. For them, mortality was a time of preparation and growth, of sifting and refining, a time for trimming their lamps and preparing for the return of their beloved Savior…. [T]wo thousand years later, we also stand as His disciples….The term latter-day [in the name of our Church] is significant. We live and serve in a time prior to the Lord’s triumphant return. Our work is to prepare…for the coming of the Messiah in glory….While the Christmas season is typically a time for looking back and celebrating the birth of our Lord, it seems to me that it should also be a time of looking to the future. Let us look forward. Let us prepare for that blessed day when He will come again.