by Pastor Leo Launio
Many years ago, a certain king had a jester who sometimes said very foolish things and sometimes made very wise sayings. One day the jester had said something so foolish that the king, handing him a staff, said to him, ‘Take this, and keep it till you find a bigger fool than yourself.’
Some years later, the king was very sick and lay on his deathbed. His courtiers were called; his family and his servants also stood around his bedside. The king, addressing them, said, ‘I am about to leave you. I am going on a very long journey, and I shall not return again to this place: so I have called you all to say “Goodbye”.’
Then his jester stepped forward and, addressing the king, said, ‘Your Majesty, may I ask a question? When you have traveled abroad visiting your people, staying with your nobles, or paying diplomatic visits to other courts, your heralds and servants have always gone before you, making preparations for you. May I ask what preparations your Majesty has made for this long journey that he is about to take?’
‘Alas!’ replied the king, ‘I have made no preparations.’
‘Then,’ said the jester, ‘take this staff with you, for now, I have found a bigger fool than myself.’
In life, accidents and losses will take place, sickness will happen, and death will eventually come to us. What preparations do we make for all of these?
Regardless of one’s profession, preparation is very important. To an athlete, physical training and developing a winning mindset can determine between winning or losing. To an investor, gathering all the necessary information about a particular stock is paramount. And to a traveler, obtaining proper documentation to his desired destination is required.
Abraham Lincoln fittingly said, “If I had six hours to chop down a tree, I’d spend the first four hours sharpening the ax.”
In the Scriptures, we find an interesting story called the Parable of the Ten Virgins. Here’s how the story went:
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. 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.
It was a custom among the Jews for the bridegroom to come at night to the bride’s house, where her bridesmaids attended her. When the bridegroom’s approach was announced, these maidens went out with lamps to light his way into the house for the celebration.
According to its Biblical context, the coming of the bridegroom represents the coming of Jesus for his bride, the church. But for practical purposes, the coming of the bridegroom can represent any significant event that demands proper preparation. Positively, it may represent the birth of a child, or negatively, it may represent the death of a loved one. Whatever the case, both events demand preparation.
To encourage people on the importance of preparation in the face of accidents and other calamities, a famous insurance company begins its popular commercial with this question: “Are you in good hands?” The commercial then ends with a statement: “You’re in good hands” with Allstate.
King Solomon echoes a similar sentiment when he said, “A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The foolish man goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.”
In every situation in life, preparation is key. Clarence Thomas sums up the benefits to one who is always prepared: “Daddy always seemed to be preparing for rainy days. Maybe that’s why they never came.”