“ ‘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.’ – Matt. 25:9 NIV
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Jesus Christ in his attempt to sensitise his disciples in particular and humanity in general, about the reality of a day of reckoning, when all the acts of man done in flesh will be assessed for the purpose of determining the final destination of the soul, gave a parable to illustrate this event, like he does in situations like this.
He started out by stating that the Kingdom of heaven can be compared to ten virgins who set out with the intention to meet with the expected Bridegroom. They had the simple responsibility of ensuring that the lamp they were holding was still burning by the time of the arrival of the Bridegroom. Five of them whom he described as wise took extra oil while the other five whom he described as foolish took no extra oil. At a time equal to midnight, the arrival of the Bridegroom was announced and just at that moment the five foolish virgins realised that the oil in their lamp was finished – Matt. 25:1-8. All appeals for donation of extra oil from their fellow virgins was rejected on the excuse that is the foundation scripture for today’s devotion. In that response, the wise virgins were reported to have advised that, in order to avoid a scenario where the oil will become insufficient for all in the end, they should go out and source for oil to keep their lamps burning.
The following observations need to be noted about the dramatis personnae in this parable.
1. They were virgins implying that they had kept themselves pure and reserved for their groom.
2. Although Jesus Christ described those virgins that did not hold extra oil as foolish, until that moment when their oil got finished, they probably regarded themselves differently and if anything probably saw themselves as being prudent and avoiding wastage.
3. They probably regarded the other five virgins as wasteful, or showing off wealth unnecessarily or worse still as people who were over-zealous.
4. The other five virgins with extra oil however proved Jesus right by refusing to be dragged into the failure that lack of proper planning and foresight can cause in refusing to share their oil.
5. Some people including the foolish virgins may have been blackmailing them emotionally using all kinds of derogatory adjectives to question their claim to being good Christians. In present day terms, they may even be called fake Christians who do not have Christian agape love and delight in the failure of fellow Christian sisters.
Jesus Christ will however expect everyone, especially the Christian, to prepare for that day of judgement in the manner in which the five wise virgins did by;
1. Taking the extra step of displaying wisdom. They were virgins like the other five but they acknowledged that it is not just about being chaste and obeying all laws but also taking wise steps that can keep one in pace with God – Lk. 18:18-25; Matt. 19:16-22.
2. Not assuming to have knowledge of the time table of divine events. The truth remains that issues of day and time of events remains the exclusive knowledge of the Almighty God – Matt. 24:36; Mk. 13:32. It is too much of assumption for the foolish Christian to determine what amount of effort he or she needs to put into an expectation, after which he or she can conclude that the event will no longer happen. God it is that determines when the day is over and not your clock. If he holds back your clock by one hour, you will still believe that the day is not over and if he speeds it up, you may discover that you do not have as much time as you thought you had – Is. 38:8; Josh. 10:13. Run your race with no thought of when it will finish and the determination to continue for as long as the race track bears no signpost with “End” written on it.
3. No matter the grouping that you belong to, you must remember that the race of life is not a team event. All run their race individually. There is a limit to collective action when it comes to the kingdom race as each individual will render account without involving the other. When it comes to the heavenly race, it is not about what we decided as a family, Church, group, etc., but what you decide as an individual because you will be accountable to yourself and no one will be blamed for your actions except yourself – 2Cor. 5:10; Rev. 20:11-16. Be wise!
4. Avoid being a victim of emotional blackmail when living your Christian life. Know the boundaries of what to give and what to hold on to – 1Sam. 15:1-11. That confirmed good act cannot be applicable in all situations. Watch what you give in order not to lose your salvation position. It is foolishness to think that all acts should be performed because you just heard a spirit filled sermon that says so. Confirm that it applies to your situation before implementing your act of goodness else there may be regret that you cannot blame anyone except your naivety for. What is right may not be appropriate – 1Cor. 6:12; 1Cor. 10:23. Let God show you the appropriate act in all situations.
Failure to be wise like the five virgins can have very dire consequences. The Bible says, the five foolish virgins were locked out and could not enter with Bridegroom. What a waste of time and resources. It was not that they were not that they were not pure and chaste neither was it the case of their unwillingness to wait for the Bridegroom, but simply the case that they did not wait in wisdom. No matter how much zeal and desire you have, it must never be applied outside wisdom. This is because although the Lord may be able to see your intention, this is one occasion when your intention will not be sufficient to justify and qualify you for recognition. It is about how you run your race. It was not about the intention of Uzzah but the fact that he broke a law – 2Sam. 6:6-11. Prepare well for the day of judgement that will surely come and ensure that you do not end up not achieving all your noble Christian goals simply because you are not wise. May God grant us divine wisdom to run a successful race in Jesus name. Amen.