Summary: #6 in Proverbs and Parables series (#5 not available) Matthew 25:1-13 with Proverbs to keep Watch over our Work, the Words we Say and the Words we Obey
SCRIPTURE READING: Matthew 25:1-13
Notice the moral of that Parable: Therefore keep watch. The 5 Foolish Virgins obviously did NOT keep watch. After all, they were sound asleep. But wait a minute… the 5 Wise Virgins were also sleeping. So what does it mean to Keep Watch? Can you be asleep and still keep watch?
The 5 Wise Virgins could sleep well because they had their “night lights.” They had oil for their lamps because they thought ahead. They were prepared. They bought oil for their lamps during the day, so they could sleep well all night.
On the other hand, the 5 Foolish Virgins had no reason to be sleeping soundly. The truth is that while they were snoring away, they should have been out looking for a late-night sale on lamp oil!
We need to keep in mind that all 10 of these women were waiting for the coming of the Bridegroom. This is a metaphor for the second coming of Christ when he will come for his CHURCH. But I also think it is a picture of what we do in our daily lives. We are often in situations where we are waiting for Christ to show up. Have you noticed that we often have to WAIT for answers to our prayers?
We pray to be healed from a sickness … or for a job we desperately need … or for some sign to show us how to make a hard decision. And we wait for the answer. We know God will come through somehow … some time. But we don’t know how, and we don’t know when… So we wait.
Life is full of circumstances where we must wait … and sometimes wait and wait … for Christ to answer our prayers. And what do we tend to do while we’re waiting? We tend to WORRY. But notice that the command Christ gave is to WATCH … not to WORRY.
We all know that worry is unproductive. Even if the situation we’re worrying about does happen, the worry doesn’t make us any better off.
I heard a story about a woman who hadn’t had a good night’s sleep for years and years because she was constantly worried about burglars. One night her husband heard a noise in the house, so he went downstairs to investigate. When he got there, he did find a burglar. "Good evening,” the husband said to the burglar. "I am pleased to see you. Come upstairs and meet my wife. She has been waiting to meet you for 10 long years." William Marshall, Eternity Shut in a Span.
A recent survey studied the kind of things people tend to loose sleep worrying over:
40% --- worry about things that will never happen
30% --- fret over things about the past that can’t be changed
12% --- stress out over criticism from others… mostly untrue
10% --- are anxious about health (and, of course, the worrying made the health worse)
only 8% --- lost sleep over real problems that would be faced
Most of our worries are completely pointless. But there are some real problems that do need to be faced. Our real responsibilities need to be taken care of during the day, so we can rest with confidence in the night. The 5 Foolish Virgins may have been snoozing away, but the truth is, they actually had good reason to lose sleep. Proverbs 13:9 puts it this way: The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out.