Summary: The parable of the 10 women waiting for the bridegroom to appear enlightens us as to how we should await the coming of Christ Jesus.
Ready Or Not – Matthew 25: 1 - 12
Intro: A young man applied for a job as a farm hand. When asked for his qualifications, he said, "I can sleep when the wind blows." --- This puzzled the farmer, but he took a liking to the young man and hired him. --- A few days later, the farmer and his wife were awakened in the night by a violent storm. They quickly began to check things out to see if all was secure. They found that the shutters of the farmhouse had been securely fastened. A good supply of logs had been set next to the fireplace. The farm implements had been placed in the storage shed, safe from the elements. The tractor had been moved into the garage. The barn had been properly locked. All was well. It was then that the farmer grasped the meaning of the young man’s words, "I can sleep when the wind blows." Because the farm hand had performed his work loyally and faithfully when the skies were clear, he was prepared for the storm when it broke. Consequently, when the wind blew, he had no fear. He was able to sleep in peace. (From sermon by Tim Zingale – Sermon Central)
I. Let’s take a closer look at some of the details of this story. Look at the 10 young women.
A. VS. 2 tells us these 10 young women were, from all outward appearance, the same: because all are invited they would all be appropriately attired in "wedding clothes"
B. VS. 5 tells us that they all slept. They had all grown weary waiting for the bridegroom and as the hour became late, they fell asleep.
C. VS. 7 tells us that when they heard the bridgroom approaching they all woke and all trimmed their lamps. So from outward appearances and these three verses we can assume the 10 women were alike.
II. Yet, there is a significant difference between the 10 women. 5 were wise and 5 were foolish
A. VS. 4 says “The wise took oil in jars along with their lamps.” They were prepared. They thought ahead because experience had taught them the bridegroom was often late. So, just in case, they took extra oil.
B. In my youth, I belonged to the Boy Scouts of America. I learned very early in my involvement that the Boy Scout Motto was “Be Prepared”
C. For the Christian, being prepared is not just a lifestyle – it is a relationship --- a relationship with the Bridegroom, Christ Jesus.
III. As Christians, we are urged to "live prepared" Living as a Christian for 1 hour a week is easy; but living daily with Christ Jesus is a little more challenging.
A. In VS. 8 we read that the foolish (unprepared) women asked: “Give us some of your oil.” They wanted to borrow from those who were prepared. If the wise women shared, it was very possible that all their lamps would fail.
B. Certainly, some things can be borrowed; but some cannot:
1) knowledge cannot be borrowed - you can’t have someone else do the studying for you and expect to pass when you take the test.
2) faith is another thing that cannot be borrowed. You can’t expect someone else to live out your Christian responsibilities for you.
C. When I taught school, I knew there were kids who didn’t do their own homework and copied it from others. These were the kids who always made A’s on their homework and usually failed the exams because they had tried to borrow someone else’s knowledge. Somehow, that just never seemed to work.
Conclu: Living as a Christian is a lot like the kids game of Hide and Seek – you know the person is going to be looking for you, so you do the best you can to prepare your hiding place – Suddenly, they cry out, “READY OR NOT, HERE I COME!” –
In this parable we are reminded that God is looking for us, we must do our best to prepare our place in heaven because suddenly the cry will come from heaven, “Ready or not, here I come!”