August 27

Text: Matthew 25:1-4

 "Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom.  And five of them were foolish, and five were prudent.  For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.” (NASB)

This parable is a “kingdom of heaven” parable.  Remember, the questions Israelites likely would ask about the kingdom and questions today’s Christian would ask probably would not be the same.  The Israelite likely would focus on the restoration of the Israelite nation (remember the apostles’ question after Jesus’ resurrection in Acts 1:6?) whereas Christians would be likely to ask about the church.

This kingdom parable was based on Jewish wedding practices.  In such events, schedules and time were not central (unlike many modern Americans’ weddings).  First-century Jews would understand the unpredictability of that moment when the bridegroom would bring his bride to his residence.

The focus in this parable is on the behavior of 10 unmarried ladies—sometimes translated virgins, sometimes maidens.  The lamps they carried were quite small—too small to accommodate the unpredictable.  Five made preparation for the unpredictable, and five did not. 

Those who made preparation for the unexpected took additional oil in a separate container.  Those who made no such preparation trusted the oil in their lamps to be sufficient.  Note that wisdom or prudence here is assigned on the basis of preparation made for the unpredictable.

Today commitment is often declared by saying, “I am in this for the long haul.”  That is often the American way of declaring continuing commitment—a commitment that endures the unexpected with unwavering determination.  It is a way of declaring that convenience will not determine commitment.

It is easy to make such commitments without making adequate preparation for those commitments.  The foolish were willing to wait for the bridegroom to come, but they were not prepared to wait. 

Often it is easy to intend, but difficult to endure.  Too often the unexpected is our undoing.  Following God is always unpredictable!  Doing nothing is not preparing for Jesus’ return!

Suggestion for reflection: Spiritually, are you prepared for your commitment?  (Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11.)

David's Home Page Previous Day Index Next Day

 Copyright 2011 David Chadwell