Jump Start #3298
Jump Start # 3298
Matthew 25:8 “And the foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’”
Our verse today comes from the parable of the wise and foolish virgins. It is the Lord’s illustration of being prepared. One does not know the day nor the hour when the Lord comes. The setting is a wedding. Ten girls are going to be in this wedding. You can imagine the giggles, the hair being brushed, makeup ready, and the nervous silly talk that takes place before a wedding.
Unlike our American weddings, in which we not only announce the day, but we post the actual time the event begins, these ten did not know what hour it would be. The weddings customarily took place at the home of the groom’s parents. A feast would be prepared. That takes time. And, while everyone is working furiously at the groom’s place, the girls are getting sleepy. It’s getting late. Surely by now, the wedding ought to be starting. The conversations get quieter. Yawns replace laughter. One by one, the girls fall asleep. Their lamps are burning. They are just waiting.
The text says, “At midnight, there is a shout. The bridegroom!” This late? Who has a wedding after midnight? The groom and a host of people march through the streets, banging drums and making noise. They go to get the girls.
The girls awaken, rubbing their eyes. They likely are grabbing hair brushes and trying to straighten out their dresses. It’s dark. The lamps are turned up and suddenly, half of them realize they don’t have enough oil. Their lamps are going out. How will they see through the streets? Our verse tells us that they ask the wise or prudent ones to borrow some of their oil. But there’s not enough to share. The groom is coming and in desperation the foolish hurry off to find some oil. I doubt there is a 24 hour store open for them. I don’t know where they are off to, but they have to try. While they are gone, the groom and the five wise girls head to the wedding. The others arrive late. The door is shut. They are not allowed in. They have missed what they had been wanting to be a part of. Sad. Disappointed. Angry with themselves. They must go home with nothing.
There are several interesting things to see here:
First, there was a time when all ten were ready. All ten of them had oil at the start of the story. It’s not that the foolish never had any. They did. There was a time when they were ready. However, the foolish did not stay ready. They ran out. And, could it be that our faith runs out. Paul tells us that he finished the course. Some don’t make it to the end. They fall short. Suffering can knock the stuffin’ out of our faith if we are not careful. Worry can cripple our faith. Problems seem too big to deal with. We start our journey with the Lord with great intentions, but we fall short. We run out of faith. We are left on the wrong side of the door.
Second, when the foolish fell asleep they thought they were ready. Had they believed that they didn’t have enough oil, they likely would have done something then. But they didn’t. They thought there was enough. They miscalculated. They never thought he’d come so late. They now were no longer ready. Miscalculating cant be very costly. That’s true in cutting boards, parallel parking, hair cuts and our walk with the Lord. Coming up short is not where we want to be. For some, our journey with the Lord will last decades and decades. The ole’ river of life flows on. Things happen. We get busy. And, if we are not watchful and careful, we run short.
Third, there are some things in life that cannot be borrowed. The foolish wanted the wise to share their oil. Had they done that, all of them would have been left out. It may seem unkind in our culture today for the wise not to share, but one must first take care of themselves before he can help someone else. Get yourself right with the Lord, first, then help someone else. Get the beam out of your eye first, then help someone with the speck in their eye. You cannot borrow the faith of someone else. You cannot borrow the character of someone else. You cannot get credit for something you didn’t do. Sitting beside a saint doesn’t make you a saint. Being married to an angel doesn’t mean you are an angel.
Fourth, there are some doors that are shut and cannot be opened again. The door to the ark was shut. It wasn’t opened until the flood washed away a sinful world. And, for those five foolish virgins from our text, they missed the wedding. They missed the food. They missed the music. They missed the joys and happiness. They were left out.
The wise had enough oil. Why didn’t the foolish? The wise were ready. The foolish only thought they were ready.
Jesus wants us to know this. He wants us to see ourselves in this story. He is coming. Are you ready?