But not all of us will be ready when he comes. There is a dire warning about this in the parable of the ten virgins. When the bridegroom came, only five of the ten virgins were prepared. As Elder Oaks once pointed out, "the arithmetic of this parable is chilling" because the virgins represent the members of the church. All ten of them knew he was coming but only five were prepared.
What will cause some of us to be unprepared for Christ's return? The Lord reveals one prominent way in a prophecy to the early leaders of the church:
"And after your testimony cometh wrath and indignation upon the people. For after your testimony cometh the testimony of earthquakes. … And … the testimony of the voice of thunderings, and the voice of lightnings, and the voice of tempests, and the voice of the waves of the sea heaving themselves beyond their bounds. And all things shall be in commotion; and surely, men’s hearts shall fail them; for fear shall come upon all people." - D&C 88:88-91The terrible destruction and commotion will cause faith to be overcome by fear, even among many of the faithful saints. We cannot allow this to happen. We must be sanctified; we must be strong..
"For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man” - Mosiah 3:19The Spirit is trying to warn us and prepare us. It is trying to show us how to shed the natural man. Do we listen? Can we hear it?
Every week when we take the sacrament we are promised “that we may always have his Spirit to be with us”. Always. I don't know about you, but that promise is not always fulfilled in my life. Our responsibility in the covenant is simple: take upon us the name of Christ, keep his commandments, and always remember him. I struggle with the third part to "always remember him."
There are too many distractions in this life, too many ways for us to forget about Christ. The adversary has made it very easy for us to vegetate, be entertained, and waste time.
The parable of the talents warns us about this. It tells of a master who would be gone traveling for a long time so he divided up his goods among three of his servants. When the master finally returned, he asked his servants what they had done with his goods (talents) while he was gone. Two of them made good use of the talents they had been given and were blessed.
Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.But the third servant was cursed for doing nothing with his talent while the master was gone.
cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darknessWhat a terrifying prospect. We cannot afford to waste time and become an unprofitable servant.
There is hope in what the master says to the faithful servants. If we yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit then we will be found ready when He returns, be welcomed into his kingdom, and be crowned with eternal life and joy.
Adapted from a talk I gave in church on February 9, 2014.