Summary: In the parable of the 10 virgins 5 make it to the banquet while 5 miss out. The difference was in the preparation - a lack of oil. Are we spiritually prepared or do we lack the oil?
Are You Ready?
Let’s play a game – it is called “I Wonder”.
I wonder if the student who got an “F” on their maths test would have studied more the night before if they had known that this was going to be their grade?
I wonder if the alcoholic would have picked up their first drink if they had known it was going to lead them to a life of addiction?
I wonder if that person who has lung cancer would have started to smoke if they had known how much it would affect their health?
I wonder if the divorcee would have spent so much time at work if he had known it was going to ruin his marriage?
We can wonder about all sorts of things. In fact I’m sure many people would change the decisions they made if they knew the outcome of those decisions. It is a truth which applies to life in general. It is also a truth that has spiritual connections. The spiritual question which comes up is this one.
If we knew that today was going to be the day when we would meet our Maker would there need to be a significant change in our lives?
In other words, “Are we ready to meet Jesus?” To help us answer that question let’s have a look at the Scriptures.
This is a parable. A parable which is asking a very simple question ... ARE YOU READY FOR JESUS? As we ponder this question the parable confronts us with some truths that need to be pondered.
The first truth we discover through this parable is that
Spiritual preparation and growth does not happen automatically.
There are times when we have spiritual zeal. There are also times when we fall into a rut.
We become slack in our preparations.
We neglect to stand in readiness and zeal is lost.
When the time for action arrives we are found wanting.
It is hard work being a believer. And we can get to a point where we think what we have done is enough … but we haven’t. In fact, there are times when we can fool ourselves into thinking we are OK … but we are not.
You see it happening in our text.
All ten virgins are dressed up and waiting.
All ten have made themselves available.
All ten have progressed to a specific part of the journey.
They are all prepared to be bridesmaids to help with the celebrations of the bride.
But only five of them make it to the wedding feast. So what went wrong?
What went wrong was that five of the women were not prepared for the long-haul. They had made a life choice – in their case a simple life choice of not getting extra oil – and as a result they miss out on the important part of the journey.
Spiritual growth doesn’t happen automatically.
You cannot depend on a Sunday morning service to provide all your spiritual needs.
Strength in the Lord comes through routine attention to ordinary spiritual disciplines.
You make it in for the long-haul by taking time for prayer and being alone with God; reading God’s Word; acts of service to others; and loving obedience.
It’s you making sure you have enough oil – the spiritual fuel of life.
In other words
Spiritual preparation and growth is the result of intentionally building Christian habits into our lives.
It is so easy to allow the busyness of life to overtake us.
When we have the routine of going to work each day it can be difficult make time for a devotional life which will help us in our spiritual formation. Even when we are on holidays, and life slows down, you would think this would be a time of growth. Yet how often is it that our spiritual life goes on holiday as well.
By focussing on these issues I’m not saying that we will be saved because of our devotional life and spiritual formation. And it won’t be the habit of Bible reading and prayer which gets us into heaven. But what this parable is showing us is that those who are earnestly waiting for the return of the bridegroom … the bridegroom being Jesus … those who are earnestly waiting for Him will put in place certain spiritual habits which will help them be prepared no matter how long the wait happens to be. You don’t do it because you want to be saved. You do it because you know you are saved.
I recently read some excerpts from actual performance reviews for British Navy officers. One supervisor wrote, “This candidate works well under constant supervision and when cornered like a rat in a trap.” Another wrote: “This candidate has delusions of adequacy. She sets low personal standards and then consistently fails to achieve them.”