“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps.
The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
‘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.’
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.
Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you; I don’t know you.’ Therefore, keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Mathew 25:1-13 (NIV)
This story contrasts the wise and the foolish.
1. The Wise Live Full.
God isn’t asking us to be perfect, but he does ask us to live prepared. “All of them became tired and slept.” We all go through periods where following Jesus can become challenging and we can become weary. But those who live prepared are ready when it counts. The wise carry enough oil. Being prepared is cultivating a life that is reliant on the Holy Spirit. The wise live every day full of his Presence, following his lead. ’To know Jesus, means we are willing to follow his ways, as we are empowered by His Spirit. (John 14:14-17)
2. The Wise Develop Wisdom.
If the oil is the Holy Spirit, then the wick symbolises our life. The wise trim their wicks. Serving and remaining fruitful for the long haul requires having boundaries and an ability to be precise with your time and energy and to focus on the things that God has called you to do. You can have enough oil but if your wick runs out then the oil cannot burn and provide light. We need to know ourselves, our priorities and say ‘yes’ to the things that really matter! (Next Step 3 – helps you discover you and your best fit). As we all do this, we all benefit as a community who live ready to do His will. (Mathew 4:14-16)
3. The Wise are Ready to Respond.
God is a God of second chances, but not always of the same opportunities. Living a life surrendered to Jesus, full of the Spirit and following his wisdom, affords us the confidence and preparedness to act when it counts, and not miss out on wasted opportunity. (Eph 5:15-16)
The Holy Spirit is the oil in our lives:
• The oil brings power (1 Cor 4:20)
• The oil makes us ready, by being full of the Holy Spirit (Gal 5:22-23)
• The oil makes us a witness (Acts 1:8)
We are to live ready now! Not for the future but for today. Every day we can be ready to do his will, empowered and equipped by the Holy Spirit. Full of oil and fire for him. This isn’t to say we won’t get it wrong, that we won’t get tired, but that we are able to respond to the daily opportunities He presents to us when we live ready.
SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT:
1. Reflect on/share past experiences when you have become weary due to the challenges of life.
2. What are some qualities/fruit of the Holy Spirit that you would like to cultivate? (eg Patience, Kindness, Self-Control, etc)?
3. What are some next steps you could take to develop these qualities and incorporate them into daily life?
4. Consider who you could invite along the journey. “Come sit with me, come serve with me”