It was game six of the NBA finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat. The Heat were playing at home and the Spurs were leading the series 3-2, meaning one more win would crown them as the 2013 NBA champions. With 28 seconds left in the game, a spurs player stole a pass and got fouled at the other end. After shooting the free throws the spurs had a 5-point lead, typically enough to secure the win. This deficit was enough for thousands of fans to throw in the towel and try to beat the traffic.
Almost as soon as the fans stepped out of the arena, the Miami Heat sparked an amazing comeback. With only seconds to go, the Heat dropped an incredible 3-point shot to tie the game and send it to overtime. Meanwhile, the fans that left quickly caught wind of what was happening inside and tired to get back to their seats. These fans were met with a team of security guards and the hard and fast rule marked with big read letters, “No re-entry allowed.”
The Heat went on to win the game 103-100 in overtime. Players, coaches, and broadcasters all shared the view that this was one of the greatest and most exciting games. As for the fans that decided to leave early, they missed this great victory.
In Matthew 25:1-13, Jesus told a parable with surprising parallels to this game. The parable is about ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of the virgins came prepared with enough oil and five did not. The virgins who did not have enough oil had to leave early to go buy more. While they were gone, the bridegroom came and let the prepared virgins in and closed the door. When the unprepared virgins came back they begged to get in but it was too late. The point of the parable was to warn people to be ready for Christ’s return because
In both of these situations, people missed out on the celebration because of poor choices. As Christians, we want to stand in victory with the Lord. Therefore, let’s remember two lessons from these situations.
1. Always Be Prepared. We don’t know what the future holds (even in silly basketball games). Depending on which comes first, Jesus or death, many people will be caught off guard (Matthew 25:13; 24:42, 44). We must always be prepared.
2. Never Leave Early. Don’t leave the faith. Only those who are faithful until the end will receive the crown of victory (Revelation 2:10).
Let’s not be among those who miss out on the victory because we left early or because we weren’t prepared.