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  • David Osteen

The Parable of Just Socks and Shoes

Once upon a time, a dad who lived in the hot and humid swamp of southeast Texas was taking all of the kids out to get ice cream on a hot August day. He told all three kids to get ready to which they replied “ok” in acknowledgment of hearing and understanding him. The youngest asked for help because she was too small to get ready all by herself. And so the Dad helped her to finish getting ready. By the time he finished helping the little one, the middle child was already standing at the door ready to go. The Dad looked around for the oldest and found him playing on the computer. The Dad said, “Son, I told you to get ready so we could go get ice cream.” The son replied, “I am ready! I just need to put my socks and shoes on!” At that, the Dad turned around, walked out the door, flipped the breakers to the house, and took the other two kids to joyfully eat ice cream while the oldest was left at home in tears of being left behind.

Parents should be able to relate to this parable better than anyone else. How many times have you told your kids to “get ready”, and when you get onto them later for not being ready they exclaim that they are ready, they “just need to do/get…”? That’s the point isn’t it? If you just have to get/do something, then you aren’t really ready. “Ready” - means fully/completely prepared. If you are only partially prepared, then you aren’t truly prepared. If you are only partially ready, then you aren’t truly ready. To put it another way… to be partially ready is to not! be! ready!

It is maddening as a parent isn’t it? Why is it so hard for some young ones to grasp this concept? It’s not for lack of ability. In the parable, the younger children knew what being ready meant, and they took the action necessary to be ready. The difference is not age, but maturity (which are not the same). It takes maturity and wantability. What is “wantabilty”? It is the want to have the ability to understand.

There are many people who don’t want to understand. They want to be ignorant. They have no desire to understand what it means, what it takes, to be ready. It’s not that they are intellectually incapable. Quite the contrary. They are typically completely capable, they just have no desire to learn and know. It’s as though they have convinced themselves that if they’ve never been taught what it means to “be/get ready”, then they won’t be responsible for not being ready when the time comes. It’s a self-deception for sure, for the consequences of not being ready are the same for those who can’t and those who don’t want to. For example, if a hurricane is coming, the result is the same for an incapacitated person who can’t get ready, as they are for another who is completely capable but who just turns a blind eye and doesn’t get prepared.

But even that is different. This parable speaks to something even worse, and that is the “false sense” of preparedness, rather than the objective truth/fact of preparedness. In the parable, the two younger girls were prepared. They factually knew they were ready. The oldest boy “thought” (in his own eyes/mind) that he was ready, but he truly wasn’t. He deceived himself into thinking he was ready, but he wasn’t. This is the same false assurance which many find themselves in today when it comes to being ready to meet the Lord. The parable isn’t about kids; it’s about adults. The same frustrations adults can have with the immaturity of some children, we can oftentimes find in our very own lives that the Lord must have with us!

There are those who aren’t ready because they don’t have the wantability - they don’t want to know what they need to do to be ready to meet the Lord. They think that if no one ever told them, then they aren’t responsible for what they don’t know, they aren’t responsible for not being ready, they will escape any of the negative consequences of not being ready. But judgment comes to all (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14). The Holy Spirit of God reveals in II Thessalonians 1:7-9 that Jesus will be revealed from heaven in the judgment of flaming fire, “dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.” Ignorance is not an excuse for lack of preparedness; because the gospel has gone forth into all the world (Mark 16:15-16) to cure men of it. To reject the cure is to reject the Lord, and is to face the consequences of such. Be prepared.

Then there are those who think they are ready, but they are not. They “think” they are ready to meet the Lord because they have placed their faith in man-made doctrines that teach people to “know” they are saved based on how they “feel”; rather than a knowledge of the scripture. They “think” they are saved because they trust more in subjective “feelings” than they do in the objective facts of book, chapter, and verse of the bible. It is these people who Jesus speaks of in the Sermon on the Mount who cry out “Lord, Lord”; but to whom the Lord responds, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.” because they did not “do the will of My Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21-23) Be prepared.

This speaks to non-Christians. Have you made yourself ready according to the gospel of Jesus Christ? Not “partially” ready by just believing there is a God or that Jesus is Lord. Remember, “partially ready” is not ready at all. But biblically ready, having confessed that Jesus is the son of God (Acts 8:36-38) because of your belief (Mark 16:15-16), repented of your sin, and then been baptized by immersion in water for the forgiveness of your sins (Acts 2:36-38). If you haven’t heard the gospel, believed it, confessed it, repented, been converted (baptized), and been faithful to it, then you are not ready to meet the Lord. Be prepared.

But readiness is not just for those who never obeyed the gospel. Many warnings of readiness are ex-tended to Christians as well. In Romans 13:11-14 we are told to awaken from slumber, put off the deeds of darkness and put on the Lord Jesus Christ. In I Thessalonians 5:1-10 we are told not to slum-ber like others do, but that because we are Christians we are to be sober-minded and prepared for the coming of the Lord. The entire chapter of II Peter 3 is a warning for Christians not to be like those in the days of Noah who were scoffers and unprepared for the judgment of the Lord; but instead, be like Noah, who had faith, and was prepared. Again and again, we have these warnings. Be Prepared.

Let us not deceive ourselves into thinking that being partially prepared means being prepared. That being partially ready means being ready. It doesn’t. Being partially ready means being fully un-ready!!! Let us not deceive ourselves into “thinking” or “feeling” that we are ready, but let us be able to prove that we are ready, by being ready according to the full and true gospel of Jesus Christ (I Peter 3:15). If you “just” have something(s) else/left to do to be ready, then you are not ready. Let’s be prepared. Let’s biblically, scripturally, be prepared.

If you know you are not prepared, like the little girl in the parable, ask for help. We’d be happy to study the scriptures with you so that you can come to a true knowledge of salvation. If you are like the middle child in the parable, and you know what is necessary in your life to be ready for the Lord, then please do not delay. Get ready now like she did. If you are like the oldest child in the parable, then please, realize you are not “partially ready” to go to heaven, but that you are fully ready to go to hell. Don’t delay. Get ready to meet the Lord.

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