Matthew 25:1-13 - (Jesus said) "Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, 'Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.' Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' But the wise answered, saying, 'Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.' And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, lord, open to us.' But he answered, 'Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour."
I work with a Boy Scout troop, and one of the things we have to tell the kids again and again is to bring an extra set of batteries when they go camping. It's common for Scouts to have to walk around at night, whether to get to an activity or just to visit the toilet. If a flashlight goes out and there are no extra batteries, well ... they would never do it again.
The girls in Jesus' story are preparing for a wedding feast. The bridegroom is coming, but they don't know exactly when. Since it will probably be after dark, the girls have brought oil lamps to light his way. What a wonderful party it will be! They are all ready to go.
But the bridegroom is delayed—who knows why? They couldn't telephone in those days. So the girls sat down to wait, and fell asleep—until midnight, when he finally got there. Then half the girls discovered the embarrassing truth: they hadn't planned for a delay, and now that the moment is upon them, they don't have enough oil to keep the lamps going. They weren't prepared. And so they missed out on the party.
Now these are just silly girls, and though it's sad they missed out on the party, it probably had no long-range effects on their lives. Maybe they learned to be more careful next time, like our Scouts without batteries. But the stakes are much higher for those of us who are waiting to welcome the real Bridegroom, Jesus. Nobody wants to be caught unprepared by the end of the world! Nobody wants to miss out on God's party.
So we need to be prepared. But how can we do that? We can make sure we've got the oil of faith that we need—the Holy Spirit living within us, making us children of God. We can't do that for ourselves, of course—that is a gift that only God can supply. That is the gift Jesus suffered, died, and rose again to make ours.
So we can ask Him. "Lord, help me to trust You. Give me strong faith in You, and help me so I will be ready when You come." Then we can relax, because we know that whenever He comes, we will be ready for Him.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, make me ready for Your coming. Let Your Holy Spirit rule in my heart and help me trust You. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. What is something in your future that you need to get ready for? How?
2. Tell about a time when you were not ready for an unexpected event.
3. What habits do you cultivate to help you stay ready for Jesus' coming?
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