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Where’s the Oil?

October 23, 2018
Useful Prayer, June 5, 2018

“The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them” (Matthew 25:3, NIV 1984).

My friend was stuck at home with a history of strokes that had left him with fair cognition but difficulty ambulating. I ran by today to check on him and had a mostly cogent time of catching up. As we looked back on the mistakes of our youth, we voiced our mutual gratitude that Jesus has forgiven us. My friend, who may be closer to heaven than I, began to talk about Jesus returning. “One day Jesus will come, and he will be sitting across this table from us. I can hear him saying, ‘Didn’t I tell you so?’” Then he added, “That’ll be the day we should have got it right the day before.”

“Should have got it right the day before.”

My 90-year-old friend was speaking true. Someday there will be a reckoning. Some day we will face the King of Creation and discuss with Him the actions of our lives and the secrets of our hearts.

I have no idea whether I will die before Christ returns or be shocked to see Him show up during morning rounds. Either way, it is clear to me that there will be a reckoning where, like my friend, I’ll wish I had “got it right the day before.” I’ll wish I had brought my oil with me, like the wise virgins in Matthew 25. I will wish I had prepared for my first time in His presence more seriously.

I’m not afraid of punishment. I know that after the review, the Father will look to the Son and the Son will say, “He’s mine.” But I am afraid of the sadness that will cover my heart as I relive the ways I let my Father down: the broken people whom I selfishly avoided, the lost friends from whom I withheld the truth in silence, my acts of pride and self-centeredness—and so many more disappointments that might lead my God and my King to say, “Okay, you pass,” rather than, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Dear Father,
Help me get it right now.

Al Weir, MD

About Al Weir, MD

After leaving academic medicine, Dr. Weir served in private practice at the West Clinic in Memphis, Tennessee from 1991-2005 before joining the CMDA staff as Vice President of Campus & Community Ministries where he served for three years from 2005-2008. He is presently Professor of Medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Program Director for the Hematology/Oncology fellowship program. He is also President of Albanian Health Fund, an educational ministry to Albania where he has been serving for 20 years. He is the author of two books: When Your Doctor Has Bad News and Practice by the Book. Dr. Weir’s work has also been published in many medical journals and other publications. Al and his wife Becky live in Memphis, Tennessee, and they have three children and three grandchildren. Dr. Weir is currently serving on CMDA's Board of Trustees.

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