Sunday, December 10, 2006

Oil In My Lamp

Today's parable is Matthew 25, verses 1-13. I think I'll paste that one here, it's on the shorter side, and worth reading.

1"At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.

6"At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!'

7"Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.'

9" 'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.'

10"But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.

11"Later the others also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!'

12"But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.'

13"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

It's amazing to me how much information can be packed into one short story. Today I'm thinking about those foolish virgins. They were not prepared. I wonder why? Were they more concerned with other things that they couldn't pay attention to their oil supply? Perhaps it took them too long to get ready for the party, they were concerned with their appearance, and spent too much time dwelling on their physical appearance. Regardless, they were surprised when the bridegroom finally came and they didn't have enough oil. They were surprised by his appearance, and they were unprepared. Then we look at the last verse that we do not know the day or the hour. How very true. We do not know the day or the hour when our Lord will return to gather us to his party.

So would I be wisely prepared if today was the day? Or would I be foolishly prepared? Would my lamp be filled with oil, and would I have extra oil if needed. I think in order to answer that we need to think about what the oil is. Oil is used a lot in the Bible. There are many, many references to it, and all throughout the people found oil to be important. There are also references to oil like the story above where the oil represents more than just oil. Oil is life. Oil is salvation from our sins and God's love that sustains us from day to day. So are we filled with oil? I would like to think that I am. I would like to think that my lamp is ready and waiting. And on the days where my flame may be flickering, I can pray that God will re-fill my lamp to overflowing, because I want to be like the wise virgins who were prepared and welcomed with open arms into the wedding banquet.

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