Summary: God wants us to focus on just one thing, keeping our spiritual lamps filled until he comes again. While we tend to focus on many things, Jesus siad, "Don’t worry....Seek first the kingdom, then these things will be added..."
Simple Living – Resources At the Ready
2003 Searching Series
November 30, 2003
Purpose: God wants us to focus on just one thing, keeping our spiritual lamps filled until he comes again. While we tend to focus on many things, Jesus said, “Don’t worry…Seek first the kingdom, then these things will be added…”
Introduction – Have congregation sing "Give Me Oil in My Lamp, keep it burning....give me oil in my lamp I pray..."
I. Resources are necessary…the oil was a necessity.
Traditionally, in Jewish thought and writing, oil was symbolic of good works. But whatever the symbolism (and there is much more), this symbol of oil is important to this story.
Note, all ten bridesmaids had enough oil to begin with (v. 3-4). But it was the wise you brought the reserve supply. While the wise were prepared and used their resources, in the time of waiting, to keep the faith alive, even when their expectations were not met and their hopes were tested.
The foolish, on the other hand, brought just enough, indeed did just enough to get by. Believing that things would work out to their own time-table, instead of the groom’s, they who had considered themselves smart and savvy, who thought they had it all figured out, found out otherwise. They found themselves shut out of the party, in the dark, the door was shut.
Sometimes we set up our own downfall by what we put on focus on. Sometimes we have the wrong resources at the ready.
II. Some resources are needed more than others…only the oil was needed.
It’s also interesting to me that all they needed was the oil. I don’t think that this is how the typical bride-to-be might act, right? There’s setting the date, invitations, the gown, the rings, the hall, the reception, the church, finding the preacher…all these things have to get done right?
Even in their day, brides were required to go through ceremonial washings. They had to weave through the intricate red tape of Jewish culture and law in regards to their families. They had so much to do, but this story only talks about oil, and the need of it.
To give oil its due, it was probably one of the most needed things of its time. Oil was used in religious and social life. It was used as a source of power…a source of healing…a source of goodwill. Even our modern day equivalents for power, healing, and goodwill could not hold as much status as oil did at this time.. In many ways, it was the “gold” that held life together, so its no surprise for us to find it here.
But, Jesus, I’m sure, wanted to make this parable as clear as possible. Its meaning…God wants us to focus only on one thing and that is him.
Turn to Matthew 6:25-33 (quickview) …in this passage we see Jesus toward the end of his sermon on the mount. In this passage Jesus makes it clear what “resources” we are supposed to be focused on…
“There I say to you do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on . Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing. (skip to v.28) So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I sway to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. How if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?