Then the kingdom of heaven will be like this. Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, all of them became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those bridesmaids got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, ‘No! there will not be enough for you and for us; you had better go to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy it, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went with him into the wedding banquet; and the door was shut. Later the other bridesmaids came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ Keep awake therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Food for Thought:
This is one of those familiar parables that Jesus tells during his ministry─the parable of the ten bridesmaids. Five are wise and 5 are foolish. What is this story meant to convey to us about the Christian life? The 5 who are foolish are unprepared for Jesus’ arrival and leave their posts to go get more oil for their lamps. The 5 wise bridesmaids take extra oil so that they won’t run out. I am a Type A person, so this has always been one of my favorite stories. “Those who prepare ahead of time will get to meet the bridegroom” is the message that I always got from this story for years. Then I became a mother and everything changed. Type A personality took a backseat to the simple, everyday needs of my children. My friends and I joke about how forgetful we are now, how we have lost all control. I probably would fall into the category of being one of those foolish bridesmaids. I’d forget to bring the extra oil, go out to get some more, and miss Jesus all together. But I don’t think that this is what is trying to be conveyed in this story at all. I think the point is that we must prepare our hearts and minds for Jesus. We must set aside extra time to be with God. We must not get distracted by all the stuff of this world.
God of life, we praise you for your abiding presence from generation to generation, blessing your people, strengthening us to lives of service, empowering us to witness to your abounding love in this world. Guide us to be your faithful people. Help quiet the distractions of our lives. In your sacred name we pray, Amen.