Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Ten Virgins - Preparation by Intimacy

I'm reading through Matthew 25 - it and the surrounding chapters give us Jesus' teachings on his impending return. In this chapter I see three sections that teach us how to be prepared for Christ's parousia; the first is preparation by intimacy.

All ten virgins brought lamps to light the way for the coming of the bridegroom. However, five brought oil only for the expected amount of time that it would take for the procession to occur, while the other five realized that the bridegroom could be delayed (this could be a long process) and prepared by bringing extra oil. In the darkness of the delayed return, the foolish five ran out of oil and the wise five had enough.

When we choose to be disciples we do not really know how long, hard and lonely the road may be that Christ calls us to travel. Many followers fall away in the dark hours before they reach some intended destination. Why? Because they did not prepare for those hard times. I want to be like the five wise virgins who went about their duties in the wedding party with careful preparation. How can I be prepared to finish well? How can I be ready to weather the dark nights of this faith journey? I have to build within my life a habit of drawing near to God, learning to hear his voice and being filled by his Spirit. I cannot wait until my lamp runs out in the middle of the night to try and acquire oil; I must learn to stock up on a regular basis, knowing that I can easily run out. I cannot rely on my own strength to take me through the hard times; I must rely on the Holy Spirit, and learning to do so is quite a process!

I do not want to burn only when others are looking and run out when the journey becomes unexpectedly long - Jesus, teach me to gather the oil I need for the long haul!

Matthew 25:1-13

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