(Jesus said) "And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'" Matthew 25:8
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
The story of the ten girls is quite familiar to us.
The main question their story asks is what will really happen when Christ arrives to judge the world?
The ten girls represent everyone who claims some connection with Christianity. Theoretically, all of us should be church-goers, good Christians, Jesus' friends, who are doing all they can to be prepared for the unknown hour when they will meet Him. But there is a division in this big group. Among all of these so-called Christians, some are wise and others are foolish. By that I mean, while all of these Christians have lamps, only some of those lamps are ready for action.
Unbelievably, it's true.
There are those who have empty lamps. These people look good. To everyone they meet, they seem prepared and ready for the Bridegroom's coming. Indeed, it is possible they may even have fooled themselves. No matter how many have been fooled, their empty lamps are not ready, nor are they ready for the Lord's return.
This is an alarming situation: five people have unready lamps -- lamps that will be going out. That is up to 50 percent of the total number of Christians. Little wonder Jesus said many are called but only a few will be accepted.
Remember, the main problem is not the lamp but the lack of oil in the lamp.
Oil represents a Holy Spirit-given faith, which has a desire to be ready for and near to the Savior. The wise watchers in this story were those who were prepared to meet the groom now, tomorrow or anytime. The foolish watchers were those who were only going through the outward motions.
Theirs is a dangerous and untenable position.
As Jesus once said, a time is coming when "no man can work" (see John 9:4). It was a lesson the foolish should have learned. When word came that the groom was going to be there soon, they said, "Let us have some of your oil."
We cannot share our oil with someone else! No one has an extra grace or faith that he can offer to others. Faith is a personal thing and salvation is individually bestowed through the Savior's sacrifice. My faith will save me and me alone, not other members of my family.
The entry to the eternal wedding festival of heaven reminds us of the flood story at the time of Noah. Scripture says that when those people of faith were all in the boat, the Lord shut the door (see Genesis 7:16). And those without faith ... for them there was no second chance; there was no time to reverse their position, no time to go and get some faith.
They were ready or they were not.
This is why, in this parable the Lord is saying, "Always be ready!" You don't know the day or the time when Jesus will return (see Matthew 25:13).
THE PRAYER: Almighty God, keep us in faith in Jesus, who allowed Himself to be crucified for our cleansing. Pour into us the oil for the flame of faith and love. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion was written by the Rev. William David Zoulder. A graduate of the Lomonossov State University in Moscow; The Malagasy Lutheran Church appointed him as a French lecturer at their Graduate School of Theology. Pastor Zoulder graduated from the School of Theology in Natal, South Africa. Since then he has served his Lord as a parish pastor. His language skills have been of great value in our Madagascar office's Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) and our radio programs. Pastor Zoulder is married and has three children.
Known in-country as the Voice of the Gospel, Lutheran Hour Ministries-Madagascar established an office in Antananarivo in 1993. Connecting with communities through rallies and film showings, hundreds are reached, including high school youth and young offenders in detention centers. Radio, however, is the most effective medium in reaching the greatest number of people. To that end, this ministry center broadcasts a 30-minute FM program each week that addresses spiritual, emotional and cultural topics from a Christian perspective. Additionally, Bible Correspondence Courses, which are used by more than 5,000 participants, and Equipping the Saints (ETS) workshops, which provide tools for personal evangelism, are two valuable programs touching many lives in this African island nation of more than 22 million people.
Check out the story and pictures of how LHM-Madagascar is graduating individuals through its Bible Correspondence Course program by clicking here to read its ministry center blog.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries