Summary: A first-person narrative on the Parable of the Ten Virgins.
Your pastor thought of giving me a name like Marsha or Morgan but it’s better that you just remember me as “moron” for that is what Jesus called me and that is what I am. Because of my short-sightedness and sloppy preparation I wound up missing a scrumptious wedding banquet. You might not think that’s such a big deal. People miss wedding receptions all the time! But if you’re short-sighted and ill-prepared in regard to spiritual matters, you’ll miss THE banquet of eternal happiness that Jesus is preparing and that would make you an even bigger moron than I am. No, don’t be a moron like me and miss THE banquet! Listen carefully to my story.
It should have been the best wedding I ever attended. Why, I was even asked to accompany the groom to the wedding reception and light his way with my lamp. Have any of you ever been a member of the bridal party, maybe even as a flower girl or ring bearer? It’s an honor isn’t it? It means that the bride and groom consider you to be one of their closest friends. But it also means that you have responsibilities. Your pastor tells me that today it means that you’ll need to rent a tux or buy a special bridesmaid dress, so you’ll have to make time to get fitted. You’ll also need to set time aside to help decorate the hall for the reception. I guess it’s not unusual to spend a night or two in a hotel room near the church and wedding hall so you won’t be late for the big event. Still, I understand that the bride and groom are often late for their own wedding, especially to the reception afterwards. It was that way in my time too. Your pastor says that’s why parents stuff the diaper bag full of snacks. They know they better have some food on hand to tide the kids over because it will probably be late before the reception starts and the meal is served.
Oh, if only I had been so prepared! Do you know what I forgot to do? I forgot to bring oil for my lamp. OK, I didn’t “forget” the oil; I just didn’t think I would need it! I know, I know. I deserve to be called a moron. I don’t suppose any of you would go for a midnight hike with a flashlight that had no batteries. What’s the point of even bringing a flashlight then, you ask. Well in my defense, I would have made it to the banquet hall with the little oil that was in the bottom of my lamp if the groom had been on time.
But as I said earlier, I should have known that the groom would probably be late. That’s just how things go at weddings. And as a member of the bridal party it was my business to be prepared for such delays but I wasn’t. I even fell asleep with the others as we waited for the groom. Then, like the piercing call from a ram’s horn, someone startled us awake with the shout: “The groom is here!” Do you know how my heart sank as I fumbled to get my lamp lit only to realize I was out of oil? Your pastor said that it must have been the same pit-in-the-stomach feeling you’d get if you were rushing to an important appointment only to run out of gas miles from your destination.
Well, I thought that perhaps one of the other gals would give me some of their oil. But it was a foolish request. There wouldn’t have been enough for both of us. So I ran as fast as I could to the oil merchant - yes, in the middle of the night even though we don’t have 24-hour stores like you do. But I was desperate and was willing to drag someone out of bed to get some oil. I didn’t want the groom to see how self-centered I had been. Yeah, that’s what was at the root of it all. If I had really cared about attending his wedding banquet, I would have been prepared. Purchasing enough oil to last me through a delay would have been at the top of my to-do list the week before the banquet. Your pastor suggested it’s the same reason you leave the house early for a job interview. You plan for travel delays because if you’re late, you know that you’ll give the impression that you don’t really want the job, no matter what excuses you might give for your tardiness.
By the time I found oil for my lamp, the rest of the wedding party had gone to the banquet hall. Of course I banged on the door to be let in. I was stunned then when the groom looked me in the eyes and said: “I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.” “Don’t know me? But you’re the one who asked me to be in your wedding party!” But before I could protest and give him the excuses I had rehearsed, he shut the door and locked it, leaving me standing out there in the dark…