With his heart palpitating and his face crimson, the groom stood at the altar dejected, broken, and confused. The girl that he had planned to marry did not show up to their big day. The guests had filled the church, the minister stood with empathy showing on his face, and the tens of thousands of dollars that had been spent were lost with no reward. Humiliated, the groom wondered what went wrong. She promised to love, honor, and cherish him when he popped the question, and now she hadn’t even given him the dignity of a phone call. He had no choice but to make an announcement to the guests that the day was over, his life was ruined, and they were just going to have to eat cake anyway. He would pick up the pieces of his life, return to the grindstone at work, and continue forging ahead all alone with no soul mate in this world.
The above story describes what could be one of the worse nightmares for anyone, male or female, that had romantic intentions and lifelong desires thwarted. We have all been made promises that ended in despair and at some point, most of us have made a promise that we either purposefully or accidentally didn’t keep. The groom in the story could very well have described any person, or it could be an allegory to describe Christ. The bible speaks in flowery language about the bride of Christ, the church. God is looking for a bride with more than good intentions, but he is looking for a bride that couples actions, attitudes, and accomplishments for the kingdom. The bible tells a story about 5 foolish virgins and 5 wise virgins awaiting their wedding day. The 5 wise virgins were ready and prepared when their groom came and the 5 foolish virgins were found distracted, unprepared. The thing about this story that strikes me is that all 10 women in this story were virgins. This means they were all to some degree prepared for the big day. In Biblical times all good brides were virgins on their wedding day. This was an expectation that couldn’t be messed with or altered. This means that all 10 ladies had kept themselves separated. Many in the church feel that they are separated from the world because they have made choices of purity and some choices towards Biblical responsibility, but something huge is missing in their lives and hearts. Matthew 25 ends this accounting of the virgins stating that the unprepared virgins begged for the bridegroom to come back, but they had missed their opportunity. Even though untouched and still virtuous, the 5 foolish virgins had never fulfilled the true potential of a bride and missed the wedding day. We , as modern day Christians, could liken this to the second Coming of Christ. We need to be more than separated and pure, we need to be active in the kingdom.
Our world is full of potential and good intentions, but both are worthless unless coupled with action. The word potential is based from the root word potent, meaning power. You have no power and no potency without action. Potential is worthless unless it is activated by power. Good intentions are also pointless unless we act out our intentions. My engagement to somebody and my intention to marry them is meaningless unless I actually show up to the wedding day, dressed, planned, and prepared to dedicate my future to the groom. I can intend to marry him, but if I don’t show up ready to actually follow through, he is left jilted at the altar like the man I described above. The church, as the bride of Christ, needs to have more than just good intentions and potential. We need to allow our potential to be potent while we walk in the spirit and use the power of the Holy Spirit to be the witnesses described in Acts 1:8. I don’t just intend to make an impact on my community; I’m going to actually do it. I’m not going to just talk about the love of God; I’m going to display it. I’m not going to just attend church; I’m going to be the church. I’m going to operate in my role in the body of Christ and let my intentions become potential and my potential become action.
2 Corinthians 8 (the message) verse 10 – So here’s what I think: The best thing you can do right now is to finish what you started last year and not let those good intentions grow stale. 11 Your heart’s been in the right place all along. You’ve got what it takes to finish it up, so go to it. 12 Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t. The heart regulates the hands. 13 This isn’t so others can take it easy while you sweat it out. No, you’re shoulder to shoulder with them all the way, 14 your surplus matching their deficit, their surplus matching your deficit. In the end you come out even.