Text: Matthew 25:1-13
To always be ready
To grow in discipleship
For those who serve a household
MATTHEW SETS THE PARABLE of the Ten Virgins as a commentary on all that has discussed in the verses prior: the Messiah will come and his followers must be ready. But what does that mean? Many interpreters have moved to allegory to explain this parable: the virgins are Christians, the closed door is Judgement Day, and so on. However, the oil that runs out has proven a challenge. Many suppose that the oil represents the good deeds of Christians, but in what way do good deeds run out, and how can they be bought or acquired?
Despite the temptation to assign meaning to every element in the parable, it seems more profitable to read it “straight:” the groom is on the way, and the point for those waiting is to be ready. The parable presents the waiting group as caught off guard by the appearance of the groom—and the difference is preparation! Perhaps our experiences of hurricane season are a more apt parable in our world. Plans may go awry (where will the hurricane make landfall, how strong is it, etc.) but preparation or readiness does not. Learning first aid, packing a “go bag,” having supplies or a generator or a safe place to retreat is about preparation, and being prepared survives the collapse of all plans.
For the Christian, being prepared begins with the knowledge that Jesus is not “out on the horizon,” arriving on some unknown future date, but is alive and on the move now, ready to be encountered in the neighbor. When we minister to others, we put ourselves in position to meet the Lord. There are opportunities, but an opportunity opens and closes like a door. Preparation for those encounters of grace means each disciple must prepare with skills and knowledge to be ready “for you know not the hour.” Let’s keep our lamps trimmed and burning!
May your day be grace-filled ~ Pr. Dave Brooks