18 Feb “If Only”
The worst ever combination of two words is “if only.” When my mom was in a nursing home I visited her each afternoon on my way home from school. During those visits I passed an uncounted number of people sitting in the hallways. On occasions two or three of them would be having a spirited conversation and over and over I heard those two words, “If only.” “If only I had finished school.” “If only I had married him instead of whom I ended up with.” “If only I had gotten that job.” “If only I had been a better mom, maybe my children would have done better.” We could go on and on with this dismal discourse. And a dismal discourse it is because it is pointless. What’s done is done. We cannot go back and redo.
What pales in comparison to the above scenarios would be someone having to say “If only” because they never accepted God’s gift of grace and they had to personally cover the cost of their sins. The Parable of the Ten Virgins closes with these solemn words, “The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
We don’t want to violate the rules of Biblical interpretation by drawing a lesson that was not intended. Jesus did not mean He will not know these people. The lesson is about “If only.” The lost will indeed utter those words. But the saddest picture of all will be Jesus weeping and saying, “If only they would have gotten ready by accepting the gift.”