Aesop's book of fables contains many moral lessons told in the form of short stories that highlight the value of such things as hard work, contentment, compassion for others, and honesty. One of these fables, The Ants and the Grasshopper, speaks of the importance of being prepared, of being ready.
In this story, the ants have kept themselves busy all summer, gathering stores of corn for the winter. The ants knew that they must be prepared. The hard work of preparing all summer ensured that they would be ready for the long, cold days of winter, when they would no longer find any food. Now, while the ants were getting themselves ready for winter, the grasshopper was spending the summer playing music and singing. No hard work for this grasshopper. He was so busy singing and enjoying himself that he didn't find time to prepare for the winter. When winter came, guess who went hungry?
God's Word also speaks of the need to be prepared. Jesus tells a story of ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet a bridegroom. Now, five of these virgins were wise, like the ants in the fable, and they took oil with them. They wanted to be prepared in case the bridegroom was delayed and they should need the light of those lamps. The other five virgins were were foolish, like the grasshopper. They did not take any oil with them. Of course, the bridegroom was delayed and it was dark when he showed up. The wise virgins who had brought oil were able to go with the bridegroom to the marriage feast, while the foolish virgins had to go and buy oil. By the time they returned, the doors to the feast were shut. They missed the feast because they were not prepared (Matthew 25:1-13).
Jesus told this parable to show the importance of being ready for His return. One day, He will return in glory to establish His kingdom on earth. As we do not know the day or the hour of His return, it is important that we prepare ourselves, expecting that He can return at any time. Before His second coming, Jesus will descend from heaven, call all who are in Him, both dead and alive to meet him in the air, so that we will be with Him always (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17). In Matthew 24:40-41, Jesus says that two men will be working in a field and one will be taken and the other left. Likewise, two women will be grinding meal and one will be taken and the other left. The ones who are taken are the ones who are prepared, who are living by His Word, who will be spared the tribulation that will precede His coming in glory, while those who are not prepared will be left to walk through that tribulation.
I pray that we will all be ready for Christ's return. With faith in Christ, follow in His ways. Be doers of His Word and not just hearers. Don't be like Aesop's grasshopper or the foolish virgins. Be like the ants in the fable and the wise virgins in the parable. Be prepared.